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NHL, Jamison pursue Coyotes' purchase agreement

by Corey Masisak

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Monday that the League has an understanding with a group headed by former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison to pursue a purchase agreement of the Phoenix Coyotes.

"We had a series of meetings [Monday] with Greg Jamison and the City of Glendale and basically the status of things is we have an understanding with Mr. Jamison that we are going to proceed with he and his group to reach a formal agreement with the purchase and sale of the Coyotes," Bettman said at Arena. "While Greg is working on that with us, he's also going to be simultaneously looking to conclude an agreement with the City of Glendale. If both things track as we hope they will in the not too distant future -- though I won't put a specific timeframe on it -- we will be in a position, subject to board approval and council approval, to have the sale of the Coyotes finalized and effectuated."

Jamison's group must formalize the purchase agreement with the League and gain approval from the Board of Governors, while also gaining approval on a lease agreement for Arena with the City of Glendale before the sale can be completed.

Bettman said he hopes the timeline "can be counted in weeks as opposed to months."

"With the group that Greg has assembled, he is comfortable the financial wherewithal is there and we'll continue to do our due diligence as we do with any franchise ownership transfer," Bettman said. "This has been an extremely complicated situation that had to be dealt with on a number of tracks and while we did a deal that could have proceeded about a year ago, interference by outside third parties made it impossible for that to proceed, so we had to start over again."

Jamison said the the principals of his ownership group will eventually be unveiled, but he didn't want that announcement to overshadow Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals at the arena Monday night.

The Coyotes were put into bankruptcy by an ownership group led by Jerry Moyes in May 2009, and the League purchased the team in October of that year.

Jamison joined the Sharks in 1993 after a stint as vice president of business operations with the Indiana Pacers of the NBA. Before that, he was the director of marketing for the NBA's Dallas Mavericks from 1980-87.

He served as the president and CEO of Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment after being promoted to the position in 1996. Jamison led a group of 11 investors in purchasing the Sharks from original owner George Gund in 2002. Jamison was the team's representative on the League's Board of Governors until October 2011 when he began to pursue purchasing the Coyotes.

"You have to have goals. You have to believe that things can get accomplished," Jamison said when asked why he believes his group will be able to make it work in Phoenix. "We firmly believe that we can continue on a path, a good path that has been started the last couple of years, and we want to build on that path. We want to continue to sell more tickets. We want to continue to sell suites as I alluded to earlier. We want to sell sponsorships. It is basically just good, hard work. It is exciting and this is a product we believe in. We want to thrive, continue to thrive here in Glendale. It really comes down to hard work, believing in a set of goals and executing them."

Added Bettman: "On the business side, I am confident that having a full-time owner focused on the business of the club can do much better than we've been able to do because we've been terribly hampered by the uncertainty of sponsors, season ticket holders, broadcasters -- there is only so much they're going to be prepared to do in the face of uncertainty. Giving the franchise the stability it needs and deserves we think will give Greg the ability to do the things he's been able to do in other places so well."

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