Essentially Sort-of True Sports News
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“Sell the Coyotes to Jim Balsillie?! Didn’t I just get done dragging that team out of Canada?”
The Phoenix Coyotes are in bankruptcy. Maybe. Unless the NHL can force them to not be…
The upshot of the whole thing is this: Current majority owner of the Coyotes Jerry Moyes has an opportunity to unload the money-sucking franchise to a very interested Jim Balsillie, but in order to do so he needs to clear some complications out of the way first. Chief among those complications is that moving the team would require breaking his 30-year lease with the city of Glendale Arizona - which would incur a $750 million fine.
But wait there’s a loophole that would allow him to break the lease without penalty! See if you can guess what that loophole is…
Yes - a successful bankruptcy voids the conditions of the lease and clears the way for the franchise to be moved without penalty. You can bet your Kachina-themed Oleg Tverdovsky jersey that a successful bankruptcy is a condition of the sale with Balsillie involved. Research in Motion (RIM) founder Jim Balsillie is easily onto his third attempt to buy an NHL franchise, ANY NHL franchise. Seriously this guy wants a hockey team more than Marc Cuban wants the Chicago Cubs - he’s also about as likely to get it. Why you ask? Because Balsillie has made absolutely no secret of the fact that as soon as he gets his hands on an NHL team he is going to try to move it to Hamilton Ontario.
With the obvious looming specter of a team being uprooted from one of the precious Southern U.S. markets the proverbial local buyer has suddenly been discovered. I think we can all imagine this buyer will look something like this:
In the meantime, the NHL has removed Moyes from all positions of authority with the franchise and is planning to challenge Moyes right to file for bankruptcy. Why? Because the NHL doesn’t run out on cities dammit! That’s why!
“That’s what we did when the perception was that five out of the six Canadian franchises around the turn of the century were in trouble. We fixed the problems. We don’t run out on cities.” Bettman explained “…well, except for Quebec City and Winnepeg. But I think we can all agree that both of those teams were moved to cities where hockey was guaranteed to thrive.”