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Balsillie submits formal bid to NHL's board of governors

The Canadian Press

5/25/2009 7:28:39 PM

Jim Balsillie has formally asked other NHL owners to let him into the club.

The Canadian billionaire filed an application with the league's board of governors seeking a transfer of the Phoenix Coyotes ownership interest, one of his representatives confirmed Monday.

During a bankruptcy hearing last week, Judge Redfield T. Baum questioned why Balsillie was pursuing an antitrust suit against the NHL if his bid to buy the team hadn't officially been turned down. He's expected to file an application to move the team early next week.

If the board of governors vote down his $212.5-million bid or withhold a decision on it, court proceedings will continue with a scheduled June 22 hearing in Phoenix, where Baum is to hear arguments about whether the franchise can be relocated as part of a sale.

In the meantime, the parties will be back in court Wednesday to provide an update on mediation between Coyotes majority owner Jerry Moyes and the NHL over who currently controls the team.

There is still some work to be done on that front.

"There has been no mediation," deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an email. "The parties have exchanged ideas. Nothing has been finalized to this point."

During last week's hearing, lawyers for the NHL said the league would be comfortable paying the Coyotes bills until a new buyer for the team is found.

Unless the board of governors takes the unlikely step of approving Balsillie's bid, the court will likely end up overseeing an auction for the team over the summer.