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NHL Notebook: Edmonton Oilers chairman Bob Nicholson won’t be stepping down, City of Tempe votes no on Arizona Coyotes arena deal, and more

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Zach Laing
9 months ago
A day after it was reported that Bob Nicholson could be stepping down as chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group, the 69-year-old shot down the rumours.
This, according to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, who reported on Tuesday that he spoke with Nicholson, who denied the rumours.
Nicholson has been with the Oilers organization since June 13th, 2014, when he was named vice-chairman of  the OEG. Less than a year later, he was appointed chief executive officer, and later his title changed to chairman.
Prior to joining the Oilers, Nicholson worked with Hockey Canada beginning in 1994 as the senior vice-president of hockey operations. He would hold the role until 1998, when he was promoted to president of the organization.

Tempe votes no

The future of the Arizona Coyotes is once again in doubt after Tempe residents voted no on three propositions that would see the City and hockey club collaborate on a new arena.
A local referendum had been held to vote on what would’ve been a $2.1-billion entertainment district. It would’ve featured a 16,000-seat arena near Arizona State University. 29,153 ballots were filled with the no campaign capturing 56 percent of the votes.
Here’s some of what Daily Faceoff’s Mike Gould wrote about what has happened, and what could come next for the organization:
Although the project enjoyed unanimous support from Tempe city council and multiple former mayors, the public has rejected it in resounding fashion — and the future of the team is now in doubt.
The Coyotes have a standing three-year agreement with ASU, with an option for a fourth year, to play out of Mullett Arena. It’s unclear at this point where the club, owned by Latino billionaire Alex Meruelo, will turn with its long-term future hanging in the balance.
The club’s relationship with Glendale has likely been irreparably fractured. Footprint Center, home of the Phoenix Suns and located in downtown Phoenix, previously hosted the Coyotes in their infancy but has since been renovated to remove its capability to support a hockey team.
Another option is relocation, with long-debated markets including Houston, Portland, Kansas City, and Quebec City. These markets may come into play if the Coyotes are unable to secure a backup plan in Arizona — or if the NHL Players’ Association, now headed by Marty Walsh objects to the team continuing to play at Mullett Arena.
Either way, a “Yes” vote on Tuesday promised a clearer future for the Coyotes and their fans. After these results, more clouds are beginning to move in.

Can Sergei stay hot?

That might be the million dollar question for the Florida Panthers as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals. Sergei Bobrovksy has looked like the Sergei Bobrovsky of old as he’s gone 7-2 with a .918 save percentage and 2.82 GAA in 10 games so far in these playoffs.
And on Tuesday’s edition of Daily Faceoff Live, Tyler Yaremchuk and Frank Seravalli spoke with Panthers beat writer about Bobrovsky’s game, where he shared these insights about if he can keep up his play:
We’re going to find that out! This is the first time he’s ever been in a Conference Final as a starting goaltender. The furthest he ever got was the year that Columbus surprisingly swept Tampa Bay back in 2019, so this is as far has he’s ever come, so we’re going to find out.
Florida’s obviously playing some pretty good defense in front of him, clearing out some pucks, something that they haven’t always done, so he’s getting a little more defensive support than what he’s been used to in the past.
And he seems just like a guy that’s just in the moment. We haven’t really seen this side of Sergei Bobrovsky, it just feels a little different with him. He’s given all the praise to his teammates and talked about what a privilege it is just to be here and all that stuff, and then he goes out and he makes 45 saves, so he’s been terrific for them.
I don’t know what we can say. His 10 goals saved above expected, he’s just been great, especially in the Toronto series, and he came up clutch for Florida in the Boston series winning Game 5 with 44 saves in an elimination game for the Panthers. So, if not for Bob, the Panthers wouldn’t be here.

Senators down to four bidders

The final four bidders for the Ottawa Senators have stepped forward.
With the deadline having come and gone on Monday, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch has identified the candidates to purchase the Sens: Steve Apostolopoulos, Michael Andlauer, Neko Sparks, and Jeffrey & Michael Kimel.
Multiple reports have suggested that one of the bids reached $1-billion.
Here’s some of what Daily Faceoff’s Scott Maxwell wrote about the finalists:
Apostolopoulos is a Canadian billionaire born in Toronto, and is the managing partner of real estate firm Triple Group of Companies, the founder of private equity firm Six Ventures, and co-founder of credit card firm Caary. He previously made a $6 billion bid to purchase the Washington Commanders of the National Football League.
Andlaur is a Toronto-based businessman with the Andlaur Healthcare Group, a company that owns transport and logistics companies in Canada. He is also a minority owner of the Montreal Canadiens and the owner of the Hamilton Bulldogs in the Ontario Hockey League. He had previously freed up major capital by selling off 1.76 million shares in the Andlaur Healthcare Group to raise $86.6 million for the bid.
Sparks is an LA-based producer, filmmaker, and entrepreneur, who is reportedly partnering with Snoop Dogg and First Nations Groups for their bid. If he is successful, he would become the first black owner in the NHL.
Jeffrey and Michael Kimel are venture capitalists and hospitality innovators, and were former minority owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Michael Kimel co-founded Harlo Entertainment, and is currently the president and CEO of Harlo Capital. He also owns a Toronto esports franchise, the Toronto Deviant, who are a part of the Overwatch League.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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