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League still hopes to complete Coyotes sale to Jamison

(Reuters) - The future of the Phoenix Coyotes remained in limbo on Friday after Greg Jamison missed a deadline to purchase the team before the lease agreement he had negotiated with the City of Glendale expired.

Despite another setback in the long-running ownership saga, the National Hockey League (NHL), which owns and operates the team, said in a statement it believes a deal can still be done.

"We remain hopeful the Coyotes sale process will be resolved successfully and we will continue to work with the City of Glendale to move the process forward," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

For more than three years, the NHL has been searching to find a buyer for the team they bought out of bankruptcy in 2009 for $140 million.

The league has resisted relocating the franchise but attempts to find a buyer have repeatedly hit roadblocks or fallen through.

Jamison is seen in many quarters as the league's last chance to find someone willing to roll the dice and keep the team in Phoenix, but the former San Jose Sharks CEO could not secure the necessary financing before the arena lease agreement with the City of Glendale expired at midnight on Thursday.

"Today, we were informed by the National Hockey League that Mr. Jamison was unable to close on his purchase of the Coyotes," Coyotes president and COO Mike Nealy said in a statement posted on the team's website on Friday.

"Mr. Jamison will continue to work with the NHL and the City of Glendale to close a deal that will keep the Coyotes in the Valley.

"Although there is no set timetable, hopefully it will be soon. The Coyotes will continue to be owned by the NHL and nothing changes for our organization."

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

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