The NHL has been approached by another potential bidder for the Phoenix Coyotes who wants to keep the club in Arizona.
The NHL disclosed the new bid in a court filing yesterday but did not provide any details.
"The League has been informed that this bidder will submit an application for transfer of ownership, but does not know whether the prospective purchaser will submit a definitive bid by July 24," the NHL said in the filing in the Arizona bankruptcy court.
The Coyotes filed for Chapter 11 protection on May 5, and the bankruptcy court is holding an auction on Aug. 5 for bidders who will not relocate the club.
Potential offers were due on June 26 and so far the only bid has come from Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls. He has proposed buying the club for up to $148-million (U.S.), but his offer carries several conditions, including negotiating a new lease with the city of Glendale, the Phoenix suburb that owns the arena where the team plays. In its filing, the NHL said Reinsdorf is working "diligently" with the city and other creditors to finalize his offer.
The NHL did not explain why the new bidder did not meet the June 26 deadline. The league said the bidder "has requested access to, and spent time in, the due diligence data room" in order to put together an offer.
In earlier court filings, the NHL has suggested that other bids could come from Toronto Argonauts owners Howard Sokolowski and David Cynamon, as well as Coyotes minority owner John Breslow.
The NHL filed the motion to block a request from lawyers representing current majority owner Jerry Moyes. They want the court to force the league to disclose detailed information about Reinsdorf's bid. Moyes's group also wants to question commissioner Gary Bettman and several other league officials about the offer and other potential bids. Glendale has made a similar request to examine Moyes and other Coyotes officials - including part owner Wayne Gretzky.
The NHL has argued that whatever information Moyes wants will be available when Reinsdorf submits his final bid, which is due on July 24.
If the court determines on Aug. 5 that the auction did not result in a sufficient offer to cover creditors, a second auction will be held in September for bidders who want to relocate the club. So far only Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie has made an offer, worth $212.5-million, to move the Coyotes to Hamilton.