Phoenix Coyotes Ownership Up for Grabs

Brent FarleyContributor IJune 7, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 11:  General view of the roof at Arena after the NHL game between the Anaheim Ducks and the Phoenix Coyotes  on April 11, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Ducks in 5-4 in an overtime shootout.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With 23 years remaining on the Phoenix Coyotes home-court, Arena, the city of Glendale is fighting to keep the team in Arizona.  In their corner is the NHL along with several people who have stepped forward to purchase the bankrupted hockey team.

On the forefront of the bankruptcy proceedings is Canadian billionaire, Jim Balsilie, who wants to move the Coyotes back to Canada.  Through his attorney, Balsilie has offered $212.5 million for the struggling team.  His plan calls for the team to be relocated to Hamilton, Ontario.  Balsilie has given the NHL until the end of June to approve his offer.

It seems Balsilie is in the penalty box with the NHL.  With previous attempts to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators, the NHL believes Balsilie is using the bankruptcy court to sidestep the league's rules for ownership and relocation. 

Four other people have stepped onto the ice to make bids for the team.  One has asked to remain anonymous as he looks further into a the possibility of making a bid for the team.

The other three interested parties are Jerry Reinsdork, owner of the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bulls; Howard Dokolowski and David Cynamon, co-owners of the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL; and John Breslow, who owns three percent of the Coyotes already. 

Balsilie, whose company makes the Blackberry, makes a valid point.  By keeping the Coyotes in Phoenix, it is throwing good money after bad.  Glendale and the NHL believe there is a solid chance the Coyotes can have a successful time in Arizona with a different owner and with a winning team.

With several different directions presented to the bankruptcy court, the Coyotes can go any direction.  A move from Arizona will be a big loss to Glendale.  Glendale rolled out the red carpet for the Coyotes and the Arizona Cardinals by developing a massive project that includes the Cardinals stadium, the Coyotes arena, local shopping and eateries, along with several hotels.  A move by the Coyotes will create a huge gap in the development, a gap that would be hard to fill.