Bankruptcy court rejects Coyotes bids, but holds out hope for NHL

A U.S. bankruptcy court has rejected bids by both BlackBerry boss Jim Balsillie and the NHL for the financially ailing Phoenix Coyotes.

PHOENIX — A U.S. bankruptcy court has rejected bids by both BlackBerry boss Jim Balsillie and the NHL for the financially ailing Phoenix Coyotes.

But Judge Redfield T. Baum was far warmer to the league proposal, saying: “It seems to the court that the defect in the NHL’s bid could be easily cured by the NHL.

“In hockey parlance, the court is passing the puck to the NHL who can decide to take another shot at the sale net or it can pass off the puck.”

Baum’s concern is that the league bid allows it to pick which unsecured creditors that will be paid in full — a plan that apparently does not include former owner Jerry Moyes and former coach Wayne Gretzky.

Said Baum: “There has been no determination that the Moyes and Gretzky claims are not ‘legitimate creditors.’ It would be inherently unjust for this court to deprive them of their possible rightful share of any proceeds without first providing all involved a fair trial on their claims.”

Baum’s 28-page ruling says the Balsillie bid is denied “with prejudice.” The NHL offer was denied “without prejudice.”

Balsillie had offered to buy the team for US$242.5 million, contingent on moving it to Hamilton, over the objection of the NHL.

The NHL had bid $140 million for the team.