Bidders Show Little Faith In the NHL In Phoenix

Steve ThompsonAnalyst IIIJuly 29, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 11:  Head coach Wayne Gretzky of the Phoenix Coyotes looks on with teammates on the bench during the NHL game against the Anaheim Ducks at Arena 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)

Admittedly, Gary Bettman is right to defend the NHL's constitution and franchise transfer rules. That is beyond dispute.

But defending the Phoenix Coyotes?

The offers that have come in show the bare minimum of faith in both the NHL and Phoenix.  

So far, the only concrete offer to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix is $148 million from Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, almost $70 million less than Jim Balsillie's bid. And so far that is the only registered bid.

The offer is also conditional on getting concessions from the creditors and a new lease from the city of Glendale. They will hardly welcome that bid.

Now there is talk of a second offer put together by a group of businessmen who say they want to keep the team in Phoenix so long as they can also play regular season games in Halifax and Saskatoon. In other words, Phoenix will become the Buffalo Bills of hockey.

Why do these businessmen say games have to be played in other cities? So they can make a profit.

That's strange talk from potential owners who want to "Keep the Coyotes in Phoenix". Shouldn't owners who want to keep the team in Phoenix want all the games to be played there?

Neither Halifax nor Saskatoon have an arena that seats 12,000—yet they are necessary to make a profit? Why?

Because these new bidders, like Reinsdorf and Balsillie, aren't being taken in by the NHL and Phoenix.

Since moving from Winnipeg, the Coyotes have never turned a profit, and last year lost $67.1 million, according to court documents filed last week.

It's obvious no one has any faith in Phoenix without drastic changes.

Gary Bettman is right to defend the NHL rules. The rest of what he is defending is worthless.