Sports Briefs for Thursday, July 4

Glendale to keep Phoenix Coyotes

A marathon Glendale, Ariz. city countil meeting Tuesday night ended with a 4-3 vote in favor of issuing a 15-year lease agreement to operate the Jobing.Com Arena to the prospective Phoenix Coyotes owners, effectively ending relocation plans by the National Hockey League.

The vote, which came on an ordinance to sign the lease agreement, came after hours of debate and public comments over the financial viability of the deal, the risk the city was taking to keeping the perennially struggling franchise in the greater Phoenix area and a five-year out clause that would have allowed Glendale to renegotiate or terminate the agreement if financial goals weren’t met.

The NHL, with commissioner Gary Bettman and several league executive in attendance, gave the city council a “take it or leave it” ultimatum over the agreement that signalled talk of moving the former Winnipeg Jets franchise to Seattle, Quebec City or other prospective non-NHL cities.

If the city council voted down the deal, the team likely would have been moved. Now, IceArizona will have the chance to buy the franchise from the NHL, which took the team over in bankrupcy court four years ago, with this final hurdle cleared.

District Babe Ruth tourneys set this weekend

Although already assured of state berths, Grays Harbor teams will compete in Distict III Babe Ruth tournaments this weekend in Lewis County.

Grays Harbor will face South Thurston at 5 p.m. Friday in the opening game of the district 15-year-old tournament at Toledo High School. Mount St. Helens is the other district participant, with all three teams assured of spots at the Southern Washington state tourney in Pasco.

The Grays Harbor 14-year-old all-stars will open play at 2:30 p.m., Saturday in the district 14-year-old tourney at Chehalis. The Harborites will also play at 5 p.m. Saturday. Grays Harbor will host the state 14-year-old tourney beginning July 16 at Hoquiam’s Olympic Stadium.

Daily World staff reports