Jerry Reinsdorf officially pulled out of the Phoenix Coyotes sweepstakes in anticipation of a Tuesday night meeting where the Glendale City Council is expected to approve a jobing.com Arena lease with Ice Edge Holdings.
“Ultimately we came to the conclusion it was time to move on,” Reinsdorf said in a statement. “We were happy to serve a critical role for the City to keep the team in Glendale and we look forward to assisting the city in the future on other projects both as a company and individually.”
At one point Reinsdorf, the owner of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls and MLB’s Chicago White Sox, was the clear front-runner to buy the Coyotes after receiving early blessings from the NHL and the city of Glendale. And while Reinsdorf was asking for basically the same things as Ice Edge Holdings did in terms of lease flexibility and payments, he asked for more and then didn’t back down, giving Ice Edge Holdings a wedge to exploit.
This isn’t to say that Ice Edge Holdings will have an automatic buy of the Coyotes: the group must receive approval for a lease proposal tonight and then negotiate a purchase of the franchise from the NHL. If this plan falls through, the NHL will be free to move the franchise at the end of the 2010-2011 season.