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Balsillie continues making case while judge ponders decision

The Canadian Press

9/21/2009 2:35:38 PM

PHOENIX - As a Phoenix judge continued mulling over who should take control of the beleaguered Coyotes, Canadian billionaire Jim Balsille tried to strengthen his case Monday.

In its latest court filing, the Balsillie camp suggests that NHL teams hold veto rights over their home territory -- something the league has denied in court -- citing a recent interview with Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk on Toronto radio station The Fan 590.

The veto issue was raised in the Coyotes case because Balsillie's US$242.5-million bid for the team is contingent on a move to Hamilton -- a city that falls within the Maple Leafs territory.

During Melnyk's Sept. 17 radio interview, he noted that he's not allowed to schedule an exhibition game for the Senators at his OHL team's arena in Mississauga, Ont., because it falls in Toronto's territory.

Balsillie's lawyers acknowledged the late timing of the filing, but noted that the admission "might affect which bid should prevail."

Judge Redfield T. Baum presided over an auction for the team on Sept. 11 and has left everyone waiting for a decision ever since. He's deciding between Balsillie's bid or the NHL's offer of $140 million -- although he did raise the possibility that neither side might get the team.

Even though the auction was held more than 10 days ago, it hasn't stopped the flood of court documents. Last week, former Coyotes majority owner Jerry Moyes asked Baum for an emergency hearing to order the NHL to mediate the "key sale issues" in the complicated case.

Baum has said in court that he would love the sides to come together but expressed doubt that such an agreement would be possible.