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Daly: Sale of Coyotes to local buyer still the goal

by Dan Rosen
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly informed the Board of Governors on Monday that the League is still working toward its ultimate goal of finding a local buyer that intends to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz.

"We're continuing discussions with a couple of potentially interested purchasers," Daly told the media after the first day of the Board of Governors meetings. "We're going to continue with that process and, ultimately, the goal continues to be to transition ownership locally in Glendale."

The NHL is currently serving as the interim owner of the Coyotes, but Commissioner Gary Bettman said at this time the League does not anticipate continuing on with its current agreement with the club and the City of Glendale beyond this season.

Glendale voted in May to give the NHL up to $25 million to cover team and arena losses in order to keep the team in Glendale for the 2011-12 season.

"Our anticipation is this shouldn't go on and probably won't go on another year with us owning the club and the City of Glendale doing what it's doing to support the building with the Coyotes in there," Bettman said. "But, you never know what is going to happen. Our hope continues to be it gets sold in the not too distant future to a buyer for Glendale."

Bettman added that there is no deadline in the process of deciding to sell the club to a local buyer or to seek purchasers outside the area with the design of relocating the team.

"We moved the Thrashers (to Winnipeg) pretty late last year. We're not looking at any deadlines right this minute," Bettman said. "We have some time. I say that because A) it's accurate; and B) because the last thing I want to do is start raising expectations anywhere else because that would be unfair."

Bettman acknowledged that the new four-conference realignment the Board of Governors authorized Monday does allow for flexibility for potential franchise relocation because it includes two conferences with seven teams and two conferences with eight teams -- and all four are based primarily on geography.
But, he firmly denied that the League is considering any franchise relocation at this point.

"We're not planning any moves: we don't want any moves," Bettman said. "But if we find ourselves confronted with one, the way (the four-conference system is) set up gives us a little bit more flexibility."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl
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