Phoenix Coyotes Saga: Goldwater Institute Involvement Could Result in Relocation

Joe M.Correspondent IIMarch 1, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 16:  Matthew Hulsizer, CEO of PEAK6 Investments, attends the NHL game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on October16, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After visiting the forums on, a fan site for the "Desert Dogs" (no, I didn't know such sites existed either), there was a thread about the latest developments in the case that never ends.

One bold Coyotes fan wrote under the thread "Update, ball in GWI's court:" "If GWI was going to do more than issue strongly worded statements, they would have done so way before now."

Not only is it that typical kind of arrogance from fans that believe relocation is coming sooner rather than later, but it also shows the ignorance of the statement.

The Goldwater Institute is a legal organization with quite an impressive track record. While I'm neither going to list the cases nor say they are the best litigation team around, they appear to be on par with everyone else. Why some fan would suggest that their involvement isn't genuine—basically, trying to call their bluff—is beyond me.

The user—"Coyotes rock"—was quickly corrected accurately by the user "Yote Dude," who wrote, "GWI doesn't have to do anything, they are already doing it by scaring off investors to buy the bonds....."

This user would be absolutely correct.

There are reports stating that the longer they are involved with the threat of litigation, the sooner the NHL and prospective owner Matthew Hulsizer may both pull out of any deal. Additionally, the longer they are involved, the more expensive the bonds get—ultimately scaring away the investors.

Just by being involved, GWI has already won and has already served its purpose. The people of Winnipeg should be doing backflips that such an organization exists; it is essentially working on their behalf unintentionally—all for no retainer.

Here's hoping that they continue to do just that—nothing—as the continued threat of a lawsuit looms, leaving the city council of Glendale, the dozens of season ticket holders and the Arizona media with nothing they can do about it.

Hulsizer, NHL clueless, getting impatient

Matthew "Fast Money" Hulsizer appears to be growing impatient with the slow process these bonds are taking and the toll it's having on the proposed sale. The Winnipeg Free Press reported yesterday that he claimed the deal is "out of his control," only to predictably retract his words later:

But we all know that neither he nor the NHL has any clue when the deal will close—if ever—and they are simply making things up as they go, which is why we never hear about a drop-dead date to close the sale.

Problem is the NHL's schedules are due approximately three-and-a-half months from today after the Vancouver Canucks hoist the Stanley Cup (see what I did there?) and we'll need to know where one of the 30 franchises is going to call home for next year.

The Phoenix Business Journal reported yesterday that with several other franchises up for sale—including the New Jersey Devils and Dallas Stars—maybe Mr. Hulsizer should pack up and try to acquire one of them. This is doubtful, as I suspect he's just being used by the NHL the way Ice Edge Holdings and Jerry Reinsdorf were used as a temporary stopgaps until a real owner could be found.

Maybe by then, the again-competitive team could have a long playoff run and thus establish the base—which cannot happen if the team is to relocate back to Canada.


Media getting mad

Sunday's Arizona Republic issued a childish "warning" to the GWI with the lead headline "Back off, Goldwater Institute":

Oooh, I suspect they are really scared of a faceless editorial page with everything to lose and nothing to gain should the apathetic Coyotes relocate back home to Manitoba.

With declining readership much like every other print edition, The Republic no doubt knows that controversy sells (Journalism 101) and is banking on unity among Arizonans in an "us vs. them." "Let's do it for the local community/economy" may just resonate with some readers.

Sadly, it appears that their professional staff knows no more about litigation than the bloggers on the CoyotesCorner message board. Their editorial reeks of desperation from a city that knows the loss of a sports franchise that no one cared about still won't sit well with the few dozen fans that actually care—not to mention, give them one less thing to write about.

But above it all, they know the financial impact that will be felt in a state hit with home foreclosure and the fact that once this team leaves, everyone knows the NHL will never be back and perhaps that dose of reality hit a nerve. I mean, that's got to be quite eye-opening.

The thing is, if Hulsizer really wanted the team, why doesn't he just buy it 100% himself like Terry Pegula did last week with the Buffalo Sabres? That deal opened and closed in no time and was not dragged out over one-and-a-half years like this one.

Why are bonds even required? If Hulsizer wants the team that bad, why doesn't he put his money where his mouth is? Why should he need the subsidy?

Could it be because compared to Pegula, he doesn't compare in terms of wealth? The guy can barely get his foot in the door. What kind of owner is he going to make—god forbid—should he actually get in?

They'd likely be doing fire sales every other year.


Its time for a shakeup in the league

We are at that lull after the trading deadline but before the playoffs. As someone who watches a few games on Versus each week in addition to Hockey Central postgame, imagine if Brian Engblom (himself a former Jet) or Keith Jones actually had to talk of relocation, as in the return of the Jets or Nordiques?

Think of the ratings; more importantly, think of how long they'd go on about how good this is for the league once they got their mandatory "I feel bad for the people of Phoenix" sympathies out of the way.

Relocation would cause a buzz.

Relocation would be good for the league just as long as were talking south moving north, as is the case here. The people of Manitoba have waited long enough—same with the people of Quebec.

It's only a matter of time; the forces are too great. Why delay the inevitable any longer?

Atlanta recently talked of two investor groups who would supposedly keep the team in Atlanta.

Quebec will announce today that the media mogul Quebecor is throwing major money behind the project:

I already expect the new $400-million "amphitheater" to have the corporate naming rights of "Quebecor Arena." Why not just make it official already?

Hartford? All they did this weekend was host 22,000 Whalers fans in a Boston Bruins-Hartford Whalers outdoor hockey alumni game called "Whale Fest" in an attempt to revitalize the old base and in the long-term bring the NHL back:

Change is coming and it can't happen soon enough. In fact, it's 16 years overdue.

Coyotes fans—it's nothing personal; you just don't deserve a team. Never did. Not just any team, but especially this team.

This one's going home to Winnipeg soon and there's nothing you can do about it, thanks in part to the Goldwater Institute who did more by doing nothing than anything. You'll find a shiny red ball or something else to distract you soon enough.

Leave hockey to the people that truly care about it.

Information from The Phoenix Business Journal, Arizona Republic, Winnipeg Free Press, National Post,, and Coyotes forums directly contributed to the content of this article.


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