PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer got the chance to tell the NHL Board of Governors why he is the right one to buy the Phoenix Coyotes.
His presentation Monday was quite convincing.
"The executive committee met with Mr. Hulsizer and thought Matt did a great job," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. "The executive committee is unanimous in support of his application for ownership."
The 40-year-old Hulsizer spoke to the committee on the first day of the board's two-day meeting. It gave the group the opportunity to get to know Hulsizer, a former player at Amherst College, and what qualities he would bring if he became the Coyotes' owner.
The NHL took over ownership of the Coyotes when they bought the team out of bankruptcy 15 months ago.
"It was kind of like a background meeting. The owners want to have a sense of him as a person and his experiences," Daly said. "Why he's doing this and why he thinks there's an opportunity here."
Following the meeting, Hulsizer said he believes a deal to buy the Coyotes will be completed soon. The finishing touches include the signing of a new lease with the city of Glendale. That is still in the final stages of negotiations.
Hulsizer put together a group of partners, but indicated he will bear the bulk of the financial responsibility.
"We've been working with the city and we've been working with the league," Hulsizer said. "I just had the interview with the executive committee and I think it went fairly well. I'm optimistic that we are going to get this thing done by the end of the (calendar) year."
In other news, Daly said the committee received an update regarding next season's salary cap. This season's cap is $59.4 million per team. It is expected to increase moderately for next season.
"We gave very preliminary salary cap projections, as we usually do with the board in December," Daly said. "We look at league revenue forecasts, and we try to build in a whole lot of variables and try to give them a sense of where that might be."