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September 01, 2009
Coyotes sale even more confused than ever
The Phoenix Coyotes auction is still nine days away, but already all hell has broken loose in the race to decide the team's new owner (and where it will play). In the past week, we've seen:
- Would-be frontrunner Jerry Reinsdorf unexpectedly drop out of the bidding either because (depending on which report you believe) he couldn't work out an arena lease with Glendale or because of an "unwilling seller" or because of "growing negative publicity" around his bid. Sorry about that, chief.
- The NHL entered its own $140 million bid for the Coyotes, with the intent of selling the team to a local owner once it's out of bankruptcy. Though the league's court papers indicate that if no local buyer is found by next June, the NHL may move the team anyway, raising the specter of a Montreal Expos-like multi-city bidding war. Though it's worth recalling that it wasn't much of a war.
- Ice Edge Holdings submitted their own $145 million bid to buy the team and have it split time between Arizona and Canadian cities such as Saskatoon and Halifax. Wayne Gretzky is reportedly backing the Ice Edge bid, though he hasn't made any public statements himself, so it's hard to say whether he kept a straight face while doing so.
Meanwhile, Bankruptcy Judge Redfield Baum has yet another hearing scheduled tomorrow to decide yet again whether Blackberry zillionaire Jim Balsillie will be allowed into next week's auction, after the NHL preemptorily rejected him as a prospective owner. Who, if anyone, will end up with the team after next week's auction remains anyone's guess, but it's probably a safe bet to put your money on there being further lawsuits ahead no matter what.