May 5, 2009
Coyotes file for bankruptcy, future in doubt
The Phoenix Coyotes have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, leaving their future in the Valley in doubt.
"Extensive efforts have been undertaken to sell the team, or attract additional investors, who would keep the team in Glendale," Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes said in a statement. "Creating a process under the supervision of a judge assures that anyone wishing to purchase the team will have the opportunity to bid."
Moyes' statement continued to say that a new owner – "and the team's location" – would be finalized by June 30.
Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Research in Motion, which makes BlackBerry, released a statement saying he made a $212.5 million offer to buy the Coyotes – contingent on the ability to move the franchise back to Canada.
The Coyotes moved from Winnipeg before the 1996-97 season.
In the past, Balsillie has attempted, and failed, to buy the Nashville Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement that Moyes had been removed "from all positions of authority to act for or on behalf of the club."
"We have just become aware of today's bankruptcy court filing purportedly made on behalf of the Phoenix Coyotes," the statement said. "We are investigating the circumstances surrounding the petition, including the propriety of its filing. …
"The league will appear and proceed before the bankruptcy court in the best interests of all of the club's constituencies, including its fans in Arizona and the league's 29 other member clubs."
The Coyotes financial troubles have been widely reported. Multiple reports before the season say the organization has lost an estimated $200 million since Moyes bought the franchise in 2001 for $120 million.
In April, Coyotes executive vice president and chief marketing officer Mike Bucek told Arizona Rubber that he thought the franchise would ultimately stay put.
"The wild speculation about the team disbanding, or relocating, all of that … that really hasn't been discussed," Bucek said. "We're here to stay … things are going to get better."
He then added: "We think the outlook is bright, and I think once the ownership situation is resolved, and there's some stability there, the thought that moving trucks will be there tomorrow will be gone."
If the Coyotes were to move, it would leave the greater Phoenix area without a professional hockey team for the first time since 1989.
In March, the ECHL's Phoenix RoadRunners announced they would cease operations.
"Every player who comes through here, whether it's NHL or ECHL, loves Phoenix," RoadRunners' captain Mitch Carefoot said after the team's home finale.