Hedgie Wins NHL Owners' Backing In Bid For Team

Dec 8 2010 | 3:10am ET

For the second time this year, a hedge fund manager appears poised to buy a National Hockey League team.

Matthew Hulsizer of Peak6 Investments' plan for the bankrupt (and now league-owned) Phoenix Coyotes won the unanimous approval of the NHL board of governors executive committee.

"It was a very good interview," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said of the meeting in Palm Beach, Fla. "Matt did a great job, and the executive committee is unanimous in their support of his application for ownership."

For his part, Chicago-based Hulsizer said he is "optimistic that we are going to get this done by the end of the year." If it doesn't, the NHL plans to reopen bidding and could move the team, possibly to Winnipeg, Canada, where it resided before moving to Arizona in 1996.

Hulsizer has pledged to try to keep the team in Phoenix, and said he hopes to finalize a new lease for the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., by the middle of the month. He also acknowledges that the purchase of a team that is losing as much as $30 million a year is "not going to look smart for a long time."

One executive committee member recused himself from the Coyotes discussion: Private equity legend Tom Hicks, who is trying to sell his own team, the Dallas Stars. Hicks has already sold his baseball and British soccer teams after FINalternatives revealed last year that his Hicks Sports Group had defaulted on more than $500 million in debt.

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