Monday, June 22, 2009
Balsillie or Reinsdorf...? August or September...?
Jerry Reinsdorf may become the new owner of the Phoenix Coyotes by Aug. 5. If not, then Jim Balsillie ((pictured, GlobeSports file)) will get a chance to buy the team and move it on Sept. 10.
Those were the key dates that emerged Monday after a hearing in front of U.S. bankruptcy court judge Redfield T. Baum. He set a date of Aug. 5 for an auction for bidders who will keep the team in suburban Glendale, and if that fails to produce a buyer there will be another one on Sept. 10 for those who want to relocate the team.
However, the court was informed during the hearing by a lawyer for Reinsdorf that the owner of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox will submit an offer for the Coyotes. He plans to keep the ailing team in Glendale.
Earlier, the NHL said in a court filing it expects an offer from Reinsdorf by Friday. No details were offered but a lawyer for the City of Glendale told Judge Baum during Monday’s court hearing in Phoenix that the city likes Reinsdorf’s offer, although it still has to negotiate lease concessions with him.
While Balsillie agreed to an auction on July 28 as long as the sale closes by Sept. 15 in order for him to move the team for the start of the coming season, the NHL held out for Aug. 5. Lawyers for the NHL also told Judge Baum the league does not want to approve relocation for the 2009-10 season, but it may have to now.
In a filing earlier in the day, lawyers for the NHL argued relocation cannot be done before the 2010-11 season. The league said it will cover the Coyotes' losses for the coming season “until a thorough and orderly process locates the highest and best relocation opportunity.”
Once again, lawyers for current Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes asked the judge to order the NHL to mediate a relocation fee with Balsillie, the co-CEO of Research In Motion, who has offered $212.5-million (all currency U.S.) for the Coyotes on the condition he can move the financially crippled team to Hamilton. But the judge suggested mediation will not be necessary until the team is sold.
Posted by John V. Wood at 11:49 PM