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RIMs Jim Balsille in May at the Columbia Ice Fields Arena at the University of Waterloo where he plays shinny hockey with a group of friends. (Peter Power)
RIMs Jim Balsille in May at the Columbia Ice Fields Arena at the University of Waterloo where he plays shinny hockey with a group of friends. (Peter Power)

Balsillie eyes new bid for Coyotes Add to ...

Jim Balsillie may have lost a court battle in his bid to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and move them to Hamilton but it does not mean he is giving up on the idea.

Richard Rodier, a lawyer for Balsillie, said Tuesday morning he expects Balsillie will submit a new motion to buy and move the NHL team. However he did not provide details and said his group had not yet talked to Jerry Moyes, the club's current owner.

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Rodier said bankruptcy is a process "with ebbs and flows". He added that Balsillie could just wait for the NHL to hold an auction in September. He also said he doubted Balsillie would appeal U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Redfield T. Baum's ruling.

One of the reasons that Judge Baum gave for rejecting Balsillie's $212.5-million (all currency U.S.) bid was that the June 29 closing date was too soon for the court to deal with all of the complex legal issues involved.

No closing date was indicated but with the responsibility for covering the Coyotes' losses - expected to be as $45-million for the season just ended - back in the hands of Moyes and ultimately the NHL, Balsillie could submit an offer that would see the team sold and move by the fall of 2010.

That would allow the bankruptcy court time to examine the issues, from whether a team can be sold and relocated over the objections of the NHL to whether the lease at the Coyotes' arena in suburban Glendale can be broken to anti-trust issues concerning the NHL's right to block teams from moving.

At this point, the NHL has said it plans to work on finding buyers willing to keep the team in Glendale. It said in court filings that several groups expressed interest in doing so, but no details were offered publicly.

In a court filing last week, Moyes's lawyers said only one group has filed notice it will conduct due diligence on a bid. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly identified that group as the one headed by Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Tony Tavares, the president of Sports Properties Acquisition Corp., and a former president of the Anaheim Ducks, has been appointed to conduct the due diligence on the Coyotes for Reinsdorf. However, this job is apparently not connected to Tavares's position with Sports Properties, which rejected overtures from the NHL to buy the Coyotes.

Moyes' lawyers told the court in their June 8 filing that they expect a second group will soon register with them to look at the Coyotes' financial records. But there has been no word since then if the group has said it will conduct due diligence.

Two other groups were identified publicly last week as being willing to keep the Coyotes in Glendale. One is headed by Toronto Argonaut owners Howard Sokolowski and David Cynamon. The other was put together by Coyotes minority owner John Breslow.

At this point, the court auction for the Coyotes will likely not happen until early September. That will involve only bidders who pledge to keep the team in Glendale. If none can be found, an auction will be held for buyers who will relocate the team after negotiating a relocation fee with the NHL.

Balsillie could also make a bid in the second auction or he could negotiate a sale and move with the league later this summer if a suitable local bid cannot be found.



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