Coyotes sale: Seattle ownership group waiting in the wings

USA TODAY Sports

The NHL is reportedly close to finding an ownership group for the Coyotes, but the backup plan is set for the great northwest.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Billy Daly was not fooling around on Wednesday when he suggested the Phoenix Coyotes may not be playing in Glendale, Ariz. next season. There may finally be an ownership group with a "handshake agreement" to buy the team, but they need the city council's approval, which is not a slam dunk. The situation in that market has finally hit endgame, and the NHL has their "Plan B" set up.

According to CBC's Hockey Night in Canada Hotstove (which is always connected on these sort of things), there will be a city council meeting to potentially approve a deal on June 25. However, if the deal doesn't work out and isn't approved, the Coyotes may be gone within the week. On July 2, an ownership group led by New York Yankees minority owner Ray Bartoszek and investor Anthony Lanza will take the team to Seattle.

Presumably, the team would play at Key Arena initially. The Vancouver Canucks wanted to move their AHL team to the building, but were rebuffed and told it was "not available for hockey." That would mean the league wants the former home of the Seattle Supersonics for at least the beginning of the NHL team's existence. The building is not ideal for hockey, but it would only be a temporary home, as the attempt to build a new arena has long been discussed.

Another piece of information revealed by the Hotstove guys: NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick -- who spent a good portion of his career in Phoenix -- would be a part of the hockey operations staff that runs the team. Roenick reportedly has a long-term contract with NBC Sports, but one would assume there's flexibility in a deal like that should the right NHL job come along.

The Phoenix Coyotes saga has dragged on for years now. Strange to think that in 10 days, we may finally have an answer on whether or not they'll stay in Glendale. Even stranger: you may see Coyotes draft picks at the 2013 NHL Draft wearing the jerseys of a team that might not exist anymore two days later. If you thought this thing couldn't get weirder before it ends, you haven't been following it closely enough.

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