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Friday May 15, 2009 1:38 pm

Jerry Moyes, Phoenix Coyotes face bankruptcy hearing next week

Phoenix Coyotes

The Phoenix Coyotes’ relocation fiasco took another turn Wednesday when the NHL filed motions in an Arizona bankruptcy court. The hearing, between the league and the franchise, will take place Tuesday, May 19 to determine whether or not the franchise is to be considered legally bankrupt.

On one side you have Moyes and the Coyotes. From Moyes’ perspective, the Phoenix Coyotes are a losing investment with which he wants no part. If bankrupt, Moyes can then part with the team with less complication because they will not need to undergo the traditional owner application process. The noted offer of $212.5 million is Research in Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie’s attempt to take the struggling franchise off Moyes’ hands. It is, however, conditional on the franchise moving to southern Ontario.

The NHL on the other hand contests that since Moyes received financial support from the league last season (which according to the Arizona Republic he did, in order to pay stadium rent), that he no longer holds the right to put the team into bankruptcy.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has long been an advocate of developing hockey’s presence in the United States and will not sit idly by as one of his franchises, previously relocated from Winnipeg, Manitoba, gets deported. Unfortunately for Bettman, the largest known offer from a possible suitor looking to keep the team in Phoenix ($130 million) pales in comparison to that of Balsillie’s.

This is not the first time Balsillie has tried to buy a franchise with the intention of relocating it to Ontario. In 2006 he unsuccessfuly bid to purchased the Pittsburgh Coyotes and, in 2007, he was denied the Nashville Predators.

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