The Phoenix Coyotes are close to being purchased by a Chicago businessman who will keep the team in Glendale, Arizona.
While most of you probably didn’t even know the Coyotes were for sale, this is a very important development for the future of the sport of hockey in the United States.
In the past 25 years, the NHL has seen two of their seven Canadian franchises (Quebec Nordiques, Winnipeg Jets) move to the US. And of the nine expansion franchises during that period, only one (Ottawa Senators) was added north of the border.
But with the economy in the US struggling. the increased strength of the Canadian dollar and interest by Americans waning, some were predicting US franchises to start relocating in Canada. And many of those same people were looking to Phoenix to see if the Coyotes would be the first to make the jump.
The NHL announced earlier this year that if the City of Glendale did not find a new local owner by the end of the year, the league would relocate the team. The league had an offer to purchase the team from a group in Winnipeg, the same city that the Coyotes originally moved from in 1996.
If Canada was unsuccessful in luring the Coyotes back north, a team owned by the NHL and ripe for the picking, that doesn’t bode well for any hope that the Canada’s unofficial national sport will increase their stake in the NHL anytime soon.
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