by PuckStopsHere on 06/16/09 at 03:44 AM ET
Judge Redfield T. Baum has ruled that there isn’t enough time to deal with the unresolved issues in the Phoenix Coyotes bankruptcy case. The June 22nd auction of the Coyotes will not happen. The June 29th closing date for the franchise purchase that potential owner Jim Balsillie had put on the sale will not be met. It looks like the Phoenix Coyotes will remain in Phoenix next season and likely as a dead team that everyone knows will be moved soon after.
Balsillie had made a $212.5 million offer to bankrupt owner Jerry Moyes to buy the team. Initially, the NHL challenged Moyes right to declare bankruptcy, since he had received NHL financing during last season, but that idea was overruled. Judge Baum says that the NHL has a right to impose a relocation fee on top of the sales price, but at this point there is nothing but speculation as to what this fee might be.
The NHL claims it has four different potential offers to buy the team and keep it in Phoenix. On closer scrutiny, if these offers legitimately exist (which isn’t clear) they are likely other attempts to move the Coyotes to a more viable market.
An auction of the Phoenix Coyotes franchise will occur eventually. If there is a serious offer to keep the team in Phoenix then there will be some more legal wrangling to determine if that offer is better for creditors than the Balsillie offer.
Balsillie is now offering to keep the team in Phoenix next year before moving to Hamilton, if that is necessary due to time constraints.
A dead team with no clear ownership that stays in Phoenix is bad for the league. The Coyotes are not going to draw fans, since the fans know the team will soon re-locate. There will be no investment in the team. There will be no clear plan to do anything with the franchise. They will be left to flounder at or near the bottom of the standings. Obviously, the sooner everything is resolved the better, but it now looks like there will be another season for the Coyotes to remain in Phoenix. It could be a season of uncertainty that hurts the NHL and leaves the Coyotes in bad shape.
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