Dreger: Explaining the ongoing saga of the Phoenix Coyotes

Darren Dreger

8/26/2009 7:04:21 PM

On September 2nd, Judge Redfield T. Baum will hear final arguments before the Phoenix Coyotes go to auction on September 10th.

The National Hockey League's mission on the 2nd is to convince the court that Jim Balsillie's $212 million bid be set aside based on the unanimous vote by league owners in July rejecting Balsillie's application for ownership.

Balsillie's bid could get bounced at that point by Baum.

Failing that, three bids would go to auction: Balsillie's, IceEdge's, and the NHL's own after the league met this week's deadline with an offer of $140 million.

Sources say the NHL is hoping the bankruptcy court will view its bid favourably based on the fact that it is condition-free.

The league's objective is clear: to take control of the franchise and the sale process. But sources say we shouldn't expect Jerry Reinsdorf, who pulled out of the bidding this week, to resurface as a third party buyer.

The NHL could continue to run the Coyotes for a season or two and - if no owner emerges who wants to keep the team in Phoenix - sell the franchise to an owner who wants to move the team. That way, the NHL would have control over where the team ends up.

September 10th will determine ownership, but it will not guarantee the future of the Coyotes in Phoenix.