Friday, August 28, 2009

Fourth Party Wishes to Tender Bid For Coyotes

As the September 10th bankruptcy auction of the Phoenix Coyotes quickly approaches, it appears that another party is preparing a bid for the floundering NHL franchise. A franchise that has lost somewhere in the range of a $100 million in it's last 3 season and has failed to make the postseason in 6 seasons. Currently three bids have been formally proposed to the courts.

Research In Motion, makers of the Blackberry, co-CEO Jim Balsillie has the highest bid for the team, offering $212.5. However, after failed attempts to purchase and move the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2006 and the Nashville Predators in 2008, filled with missteps and errors, the league's Board of Governors unanimously rejected Balsillie's ownership. However it remains uncertain whether the bankruptcy judge can supercede the leagues decision as it looks to procure the best deal for the franchises debtors.

Ice Edge Holdings, a group of Canadian and American investors, came late to the table, fielding a more modest $148 million offer. Though despite adamant claims by the group to keep the team in Arizona, they have explored the option of playing select regular season and playoff games in Saskatoon.

Already deeply engrained in the process, the National Hockey League went a step further Tuesday night, entering their own $140 bid for the franchise. The League, who at $37 million, is also one of the franchises largest debtors, has put together a proposal to keep the team in Phoenix for the upcoming season. However, they also allow for the team to be sold and relocated if the team fails to become a finnacially viable option in Arizona.

The late comer to the process, a 22 year old American student has just recently expressed his interest in the franchise. As part of the bid, documentation has been submitted to the public record outlining his capability to transform the struggling Coyotes into a competitive franchise. Included was a 23 page overview of his superior performance in fantasy hockey over the past four seasons, including a league championship in 2007. Specifically, along with his championship he highlights the selection of Mark Streit in the 22nd round of his fantasy draft in 2008. Streit went on to finish the season as a top ten fantasy defensive talent.

However, unlike Balsillie who placed 430th on Forbes list of the wealthiest people on the planet, he admittedly does stand in the most stable financial territory. While he contends his credit "isn't really that bad" and has been "really making some progress on paying down his credit card", it is uncertain whether the league's Board of Governors will find his financial records suitable to enter the exclusive ranks of ownership. Some unsubstantiated rumors making their way through the elite levels of league suggest he may even be carrying some outstanding medical bills. These reports have not been independantly verified at this time.

He has even gone as far as to include numerous personal references in an effort to distinguish himself from Balsillie, who found himself entangled in a stock backdating scandal, and the league deemed "untrustworthy" in their rejection of his ownership. Notably, his own mother contends "he's really a sweet, smart kid". However, when we reached out to his mother, while reiterating how much of a good boy he was, she did admit that she "really wished he'd date more" and "find himself a better job".

Content from the Canadian Press was used in this article