Dreger: Who's in control of Coyotes; NHL or Jerry Moyes?

Darren Dreger
5/6/2009 10:04:35 PM
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The primary issue on Day One of the bankruptcy hearing Thursday, and one the NHL very likely won't get a decision on, is who is in control of the club - the National Hockey League or Jerry Moyes?

If the court rules in favor of the NHL, it's believed the case will be dismissed and the team won't be considered in bankruptcy. Otherwise, sources say we should expect a lengthy legal battle over the Coyotes' status.

The NHL sent a memo to all 30 teams on Wednesday outlining its intent to fight Jim Balsillie's quest to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and move the team to an unidentified location in southern Ontario.

The memo assured league owners Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes surrendered control of the financially troubled team months ago to the NHL and made it clear Moyes didn't have the authority to place Phoenix in to chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The NHL will also argue owners simply own the right to operate a team in a specific region or territory, Owners are shareholders in the National Hockey League and don't have the right to apply conditions to any sale that includes moving the franchise.

If the league loses and Balsillie's offer is accepted by the bankruptcy court, he would still need three-quarters approval - or 23 of 30 votes from the other owners for the sale to be approved.

Relocation specifically to southern Ontario would require a simple majority of 16 votes to pass.

Darren Dreger

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