NHL: With sale finished, Coyotes focus on building a winner

2013-08-06T00:00:00Z NHL: With sale finished, Coyotes focus on building a winnerPaul Giblin The Arizona Republic Arizona Daily Star
August 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The National Hockey League completed the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes to investors headed by Canadian businessmen George Gosbee and Anthony LeBlanc on Monday, ending a four-year saga during which the league operated the team while an ever-changing cast of potential buyers came and went.

"It was probably one of the most complicated transactions I've worked on in 21 years in the financial business," said Gosbee, who serves as chairman CEO of AltaCorp Capital Inc., a Canadian financial services firm.

"It's every Canadian boy's dream to own a hockey team," he said.

Gosbee said the focus now will move to building a winning organization.

The new owners previously reached a 15-year agreement with Glendale to keep the team at Jobing.com Arena, where the team has played since 2003.

The sale for $170 million, which was approved by the League's Board of Governors, brought to conclusion a fluctuating story line that featured politics, financial hurdles and constant threats of relocation to cities across North America.

The league acquired the Coyotes in 2009 after the former owner filed the team into bankruptcy, and propelled fans and players, as well as the city that spent $180 million to open the arena, into limbo.

Brothers Jason and Gabriel Rios, of Phoenix and Yuma respectively, said they were pleased the ownership questions were finally resolved and that the team was destined to stay in Arizona.

"I know there's a big fan base here. People I work with love the Coyotes and they were pretty bummed out when the negotiations were still going on," said Jason, 26, a food services worker at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

"It's another pastime that I can come to with friends and family and enjoy a game or two.

"I'm pretty excited when they reach the playoffs," he said.

The sale provides certainty for the franchise and its fans, said Commissioner Gary Bettman.

"The National Hockey League believes in Arizona as an NHL market and that these new owners can provide the Coyotes the opportunity to secure a stable, long-term future in Glendale," he said in a statement.

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