BREAKING: Ontario Coyotes Part 2

Ontario Coyotes

*UPDATE*: Rumors are flying about this. Eklund over at HockeyBuzz is calling some sort of B.S. on the story.  He received some ‘fishy’ emails and press releases about the offer for Phoenix from Jim Basillie. His VERY INTERESTING speculation on the story is below the break….

After my trip to Arizona I reported that the Coyotes were going to be sold, and potentially relocated, at the end of the season. My anonymous, but reliable, source had confirmation that Canadian investors already had the capital backing to purchase the team, but potentially would keep the Coyotes in Glendale. While the “Canadian investors” were not disclosed, illegalcurve.com is now adding confirmation to my story that the investor is Jim Balsillie of RIMM. Apparently Balsillie has offered over $212 million for the Coyotes and plans to move them to Southern Ontario. Illegalcurve.com has more of the story:

Jim Balsillie has put in an offer on the Phoenix Coyotes.

According to a media release, the Blackberry billionaire’s offer of $212.5 million (US) for the team is conditional on the franchise relocating to Southern Ontario.

“The current team ownership asked that I table an offer to purchase the Coyotes and significant discussions resulted in an offer that is in the best interests of the franchise, the NHL, and the great hockey fans of Canada and Southern Ontario,” Balsillie said in the release.

“I am excited to move closer to bringing an NHL franchise to what I believe is one of the best un-served hockey markets in the world, Southern Ontario. A market with devoted hockey fans, a rich hockey history, a growing and diversified economy and a population of more than 7 million people,” he said.

The release also says, Balsillie agreed to post debtor-in-possession financing of $17 million (US) at the request of the Coyotes franchise. The money will keep the franchise going before the sale is completed. While Balsillie’s offer appears solid, it does not guarantee that the Coyotes are on the move. “If others want to come in and there’s an offer that is deemed better by the courts, then ultimately that would be a court decision,” Steve Roman, a spokesman for Moyes told the ASSOCIATED PRESS. “As I understand it, the hope and the plan is that all of this would be dealt with by June 30, 2009. You have a person who has a purchase agreement, but at the same time there could be other players who want to get involved.”

After learning of the purchase on Tuesday, the NHL’s deputy commissioner Bill Daly released the following statement:

“We have just become aware of today’s Bankruptcy Court filing purportedly made on behalf of the Phoenix Coyotes.  We are investigating the circumstances surrounding the petition, including the propriety of its filing.  We have removed Jerry Moyes from all positions of authority to act for or on behalf of the Club.  The League will appear and proceed before the Bankruptcy Court in the best interests of all of the Club’s constituencies, including its fans in Arizona and the League’s 29 other Member Clubs.”

In addition to this story, the Coyotes have added fuel to the fire by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy today:

The Phoenix Coyotes hockey team Tuesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and could be sold to a new ownership group that wants to move the team from Glendale to Canada. The team has faced financial difficulties and has been looking for new investors and owner to help or take over for current owner Jerry Moyes. The Coyotes recently received a loan from the National Hockey League and the NHL could take over the team if it goes belly up.

The Coyotes declined to comment on this story.

Jim Balsillie, CEO of Blackberry maker Research In Motion, has put forth a $212.5 million offer to buy the Coyotes, according to various reports, which also say Balsillie would move the team to Ontario, Canada, and out of the Phoenix market. The Coyotes moved to the Phoenix market from Winnipeg in 1996. The city of Glendale is examining what impact a bankruptcy, NHL takeover or sale to Balsillie would have on the Coyotes’ 30-year lease at the city-owned Jobing.com Arena. The Coyotes’ lease included a $750 million penalty for breaking the lease but it is not clear how those terms would apply under a bankruptcy, new ownership or NHL takeover.

As this story has developed Versus is now reporting of the potential sale and relocation along with tsn.com. This is not the first time Balsillie has tried to move a team to back to his home country. Last season he tried to purchase the Nashville Predators, and move them to Ontario. We will have more on this story as more details become available, for now the NHL is not commenting. For now TSN has more information on the story.


….so I called my contacts with Balsillie. NADA.
and I called my contacts with the NHL. NADA…worst than NADA. I was greeted with “How can an NHL team that is part of a league file for Bankrupcy without letting us know?”

Then other questions come out….

The Press Release is NOT from Jim Balsillie. NOR is it signed by him. NOR does it say he made an offer really because a conditional offer is NOT an offer. What this is (if it really is from Jim and I have some doubt) is Jim saying hey I am willing to pay 212 million for the team if you will move them.

And just one of the reasons I doubt that Jim is behind this is because he knows better. Jim already tried the “circumvent the NHL route” when he sold tickets in Hamilton and this led the NHL Board of Governors to be irate with him to the point where many believe some key folks would have to die for Jim to get a team.

Also there is this little fact…”What Bankruptcy Court would allow an Owner to file for Bankruptcy with a $212 Million offer out there?”

It makes no sense folks.

And here is another little unknown fact that I uncovered a while ago and just now was given the OK to go “on the record” with it.

One of the main reasons the Coyotes haven’t been sold is because in order to move the team the new ownership would HAVE to pay Scottsdale over 400 MILLION DOLLARS. That is the deal they had with the team when they built the building for them.

Now the city may be willing to negotiate that number down, but that is no small feat. Imagine what the people of Arizona who paid for this building would say?

Finally, Bill Daly came out with the following statement…moments ago…

“We have just become aware of today’s Bankruptcy Court filing purportedly made on behalf of the Phoenix Coyotes. We are investigating the circumstances surrounding the petition, including the propriety of its filing. We have removed Jerry Moyes from all positions of authority to act for or on behalf of the Club. The League will appear and proceed before the Bankruptcy Court in the best interests of all of the Club’s constituencies, including its fans in Arizona and the League’s 29 other Member Clubs.”

“Bankruptcy Court filing purportedly made on behalf of the Phoenix Coyotes.”

So the NHL isn’t even sure they are buying it. If the NHL has the power to remove THE OWNER Jerry Moyes from all positions of authority to act for or on behalf of the Club that probably means that the rumors are true and the NHL is essentially keeping the Coyotes afloat and has been for some time..Moyes may not even have the authorite anymore to file for Bancruptcy

So what do you think is really happening here?

I think someone is trying to get the NHL to budge on their anti Balsillie stance. And listen. I know Balsillie and I like Balsillie. I WANT AND BELIEVE THE BEST THING FOR THE NHL WOULD BE TO GIVE JIM A TEAM!

If Balsillie is the one behind this act I would be somewhat surprised. UNLESS Jim is just continuing on his path to make a legal case that would force the NHL to give him a team in some sort of settlement. Those are high risk stakes for a guy that would in all likelihood have a team if he just respected the systems in place…

But seriously, I don’t know what is happening at this point. One thing is for sure…Its a crazy night…stay tuned.

10 Responses to “BREAKING: Ontario Coyotes Part 2”

  1. 1 commissionerdangle
    May 5, 2009 at 10:18 PM

    WOW. Although this is not the most unexpected news it is very important for the NHL and I am surprised it happened so fast. I thought Phoenix had at least a year or two left in AZ. But, judging from the recent turn of events things could move really quickly…

  2. 2 patverbeek
    May 6, 2009 at 7:48 AM

    If I had 300 mill. I would get them to Hartford

    • 3 loge69
      May 6, 2009 at 3:27 PM

      Beek, if I had 150 mill I would split the cost with you, ship them to Hartford and then let you blow your left over 150 mill in the champagne room of the Gold Club.

  3. 4 LPsnipa6
    May 6, 2009 at 9:49 AM

    Well if you did that you would lose a ton of money there verbeek. I dont think its going to happen the NHL does not want a team in southern ontario. Also it seems like they want to keep the team in Arizona for at lease another couple of years. From everything I read it sounds like the blackberry man has a very slim chance of buying the team. He as been turned down twice before by the league including Pitsburgh in 2007.

  4. 5 LPsnipa6
    May 6, 2009 at 12:47 PM

    Just to add to what I said. I don’t know if anyone else saw Bettmans interview on the WSJ.com this morning. But if you haven’t you should. He basically said that its league policy to try and keep the team in it current location at all costs. He mentioned that they accomplished this in Pittsburgh recently and I don’t know if anyone remembers but he said that 5 out 6 of the Canadian teams were operating at a loss in the early 2000s and there rumors of some of them moving. In all instances he said the local community stepped up and did what needed to be done in terms of new rinks or upgrades to existing rinks. He said Glendale is eager to do the same and the NHL will do everything to keep the team in Arizona before ever thinking about moving it.

    • 6 thekiiid
      May 6, 2009 at 1:02 PM

      LP, good addition, I’m wondering how much of that is Bettman trying to settle down some of they hype while the playoffs are going on.

  5. 7 Coach
    May 6, 2009 at 2:10 PM

    I love how the Loge has been onto this since spring training of baseball, and ESPN just posted an article today as rumors finally surfaced. Bettman is definitely skeptical about the situation, but the NHL is a business at the end of the day, and doesn’t money talk??

  6. May 6, 2009 at 2:47 PM

    5 of the 6 Canadian teams were operating at a loss in early 2000s? I’m not doubting your memory, LP, but honestly that just doesn’t make sense to me. I can’t say much about all 6 teams, but I would expect that at least Toronto and Montreal would be operating at a profit. But if that really was the case, it speaks volumes about the NHL before the lockout.

    Not sure how many of you are interested in the business side, but Forbes puts out a story each year on the NHL and the teams. What’s interesting is the Bruins rank high in current value, but their operating income is negative. I don’t even want to know what their net income would be…


  7. 9 LPsnipa6
    May 6, 2009 at 3:44 PM

    that was gary bettman talking not me. He didnt say the names of the teams in the interview

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