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Sources: NHL to pay Gretzky money owed from Phoenix days

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TSN.ca Staff
12/3/2013 9:17:51 PM
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Wayne Gretzky will be repaid money he was owed by former Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes, the NHL agreeing to cut a cheque to the Great One after reaching a tentative deal, sources tell TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com.

Sources would not confirm the exact figure, but it's believed to be around $7 to $8 million.

The NHL for the past few years had sought to get the money owed to Gretzky from Moyes via a lawsuit but a judge threw out most of the league's claims from the suit against Moyes in early October.

In light of the delays associated with the Moyes litigation, the Audit/Finance Committee from the NHL's Board of Governors approved a plan to make Gretzky whole for deferred compensation owed to him by Moyes, and which was never paid as a result of the Coyotes bankruptcy back in September 2009, source told ESPN.com.

"I never got the sense from talking to Gretzky over the years that he was sour against the league," LeBrun said. "He was sour that he didn't have his money yet from Phoenix, but that's a separate thing. That's Jerry Moyes that owed him and not the NHL. This is the right thing done here by the NHL to move directly."

In May 2009, Moyes put the Coyotes into bankruptcy. He intended to sell the club to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, who intended to purchase the team out of bankruptcy and move it to Hamilton, Ontario.

Hearings were held in Phoenix bankruptcy court to determine the fate of the Coyotes and the holding company. Two potential bidders for the team surfaced - Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Ice Edge Holdings, Inc. - but they did not put in bids for the team at the bankruptcy hearing. Instead, the NHL put in the only rival bid to Balsillie for the team.

Ultimately, the Phoenix court ruled that the team could not be sold to Balsillie, as the judge held that bankruptcy could not be used to subvert the league's rules. The NHL's original bid was also insufficient for the bankruptcy judge, since it did not treat Moyes and Gretzky as full creditors.

Later, the NHL settled with Moyes, with the league buying the team and assuming all debts. The NHL operated the team in Phoenix for four seasons while seeking a new owner. After several prospective purchases fell through, the team was finally sold in the summer of 2013.

Wayne Gretzky (Photo: TSN.ca)

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(Photo: TSN.ca)
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