Sorry Seattle, sorry Quebec City and all you other potential Plan "B" options, you'll have to either wait for expansion or for the next troubled franchise to manifest, or then again maybe you'll just have to wait five more years if this all goes to pot.
In case you missed it late last night, the City of Glendale council approved a complicated 15-year lease with IceArizona (aka Renaissance Sports & Entertainment) to manage Jobing.com Arena. The Council voted 4-3 in favor of the deal which paves the way for Coyotes to stay put in Arizona. The lease agreement must be signed by July 8th and IceArizona must complete it's purchase of the franchise from the NHL by August 5th.
Before the vote, IceArizona added financial sweeteners (further guaranteeing revenue streams and partnering with arena management powerhouse Global Spectrum to bring in more non-hockey events) to the deal while the City of Glendale removed it's option of voiding the lease after five years which was a potential deal-breaker. IceArizona retains it's option of walking away if the team suffers over $50M in operating losses over the first five seasons.
This deal removes most of the uncertainty surrounding the troubled franchise and should allow it something which it has never really had since moving from Winnipeg to Phoenix after originally being targeted for Minnesota to replace the North Stars, a fair and fighting chance to succeed.
Props to all who supported the club over the last four years, especially the core group of fans who continued to show up despite being under league stewardship and having to deal with the constant threat of relocation. A healthy dose of credit should also go to guys like GM Don Maloney and coach Dave Tippett, and players like Shane Doan and Mike Smith who showed enough faith to stick with the organization and Glendale, providing much-needed stability.
It's not often that Gary Bettman doesn't get his way and hopefully the Coyotes (who are expected to become the Arizona Coyotes soon) and their fans can make this work long term in Glendale, proving him right about the NHL's viability in the Phoenix metro area.