Today at the NHL All-Star game in Ottawa, Commissioner Gary Bettman took questions from the media on a wide range of topics. Three top three items were the NHLPA and realignment, NHLPA and negotiations for a new labor contract, and the Phoenix Coyote ownership status.
With respect to the Coyotes, here are the questions from the assembled media and the answers from Commissioner Bettman. Reporters were not identified so I don’t know who asked the questions. For sake of space, I am listing the Coyotes questions by numbers even though they were randomly asked in the Q&A session.
- Quebec would like some important update on the Coyotes for next season. Would that be a good plan for Phoenix to relocate? (Question spoken with heavy French accent, might have missed a word, but generally this is what was asked). Answer-We have told cities without teams to not do anything or make any plans as we (NHL) have not made any promises.
- Has the escrow situation been fixed with the NHLPA with regard to what happened in the fall with the Phoenix Coyotes situation? Answer-It is not untypical that during final accounting and you are accounting for 3 billion in revenue, not everything is crystal clear. My guess is that it took a little longer this year because there were some new people on the union side and there is a learning curve, but overall we were very comfortable with where things came out and not unexpected from where we thought we would wind up.
- The situation in Phoenix has been going on for quite awhile. Why has it taken so long? This time, how optimistic are you to finally having a deal in place there? Answer-We don’t like moving franchises. It has taken a long time (a) fairly complicated (b)a lot of damage was done in the process where we had to assume control over the club. At some point we may have to conclude it is not solve-able, but we are not at that point yet.
- Mr. Bettman, you have said that there is no timetable about Phoenix situation. Is it true that after the month of April it would be harder with scheduling issues. So that there is timetable right? Answer-I understand that in some places there is anxiety to have us move faster, but if you look at timetable used last year to move to Winnipeg, it was fairly seamless. It wasn’t on the timetable you (reporter) just laid out.
- The Mayor of Glendale has mentioned that the asking price for the Coyotes is too high and contributing to the delay in selling the team. Answer-That has not come up from any of the groups looking to buy the Coyotes.