Coyotes fight gets ugly

In the end a Us Federal Bankruptcy Judge is going to decide the fate of the Phoenix Coyotes. It is probably better that way since the principles in this fight cannot seem to get along or do what is in the best interest of the team, city or league. To be sure this situation has spiraled out of control.

First we had owner Jerry Moyes trying to dupe the NHL by selling the team to Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie when he had already turned control of his team over to the league. Then we have Balsillie himself trying to buy his third NHL franchise, add to that the owners who have voted unanimously that they do not want Balsillie awarded a team, and stuck in the middle the fans and city of Glendale, Arizona awaiting the fate of their team.

The real problem here is Balsillie bid more that 50 million dollars more than Jerry Reinsdorf bid for ownership of the team. It does not appear that a bankruptcy Judge can simply take 50 million less, money that would go to the Coyotes creditors, simply to keep the team in Arizona.

However in recent legal fights the court of the United States have essentially declared that Sports Leagues may set rules for ownership and may deny whom they feel fit too. Balsillie filed court papers on Monday stating that the Judge can award him the team regardless of what the other owners and league think of him.

In the end this is probably a fight the NHL should have tried to avoid, by taking control of the team and running it from the front office, they could have kept the franchise secure in the short term, while the league looked for potential buyers all n its own. This is how the MLB found a buyer for the then Montreal Expos.