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NHL plans auction if Balsillie fails Add to ...

If Jim Balsillie's bid for the Phoenix Coyotes does not go ahead, the NHL has already laid out plans for an auction for the team.

In court filings this week, the league spelled out how it wants the bidding to proceed. The auction would begin in August, and only "qualified bidders" would be allowed to participate.

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To become a qualified bidder, a bidder must agree to operate the club in Phoenix and submit to the NHL consent-and-approval process.

All bidders must put down a $10-million (U.S.) deposit and bids have to be in by Aug. 10. The auction would be held on Sept. 10, supervised by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Redfield T. Baum. Bids must be made in $2-million increments and the highest bid will win, subject to court approval. The league has said $120-million would cover most of the club's creditors.

Lawyers for the NHL have indicated that if that auction fails to yield a decent bid, the league will hold a second auction for those who want to relocate the club. That auction will also be managed by the NHL and supervised by Baum. Balsillie would be welcome to take part, but the bidding would be subject to NHL rules and would likely include a relocation fee.

So far, according to court filings, one group has signed a confidentiality agreement to gain access to detailed financial information about the club.

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