There is not expected to be a final ruling on the Phoenix Coyotes situation today, but based on the line of questioning by the judge, and some of the statements he provided, it's looking like the NHL is currently positioned to end up as the loser.
The Judge didn't buy the NHL's contention that it has received "four expressions of interest" for the club: "This old judge is not that excited about expressions of interest," the judge told lawyers for the league according to the Toronto Globe and Mail. "You either make an offer or you don't."
The Judge also called bull on the NHL's contention that the move could wreak havoc with sports leagues and their various rules, and he used as support the midnight move of the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis.
The primary issue appears to be relocation fees, with the judge seeming to agree that, if he approves the move, Jim Balsillie will have to pay the NHL a relocation fee on top of the $200-plus million he has already bid for the team. The NHL has claimed in papers that the relocation fee should be $100 million. Attorneys for Balsillie argued that that fee is too excessive, and that if that is what the NHL should charge, he will drop his bid.
The Judge stated that the relocation fee must be resolved, and it must be resolved in a manner that protects the interests of the creditors. A fee that is too excessive could cause Balsillie to drop out, and if there are no other legitimate bids -- which there do not appear to be -- the creditors would be harmed by having the NHL continue to run the team out of Phoenix. The Judge has asked the parties involved to settle this issue.
And so the matter continues.
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