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While at first glance when learning of where this possible purchase bid for the Phoenix Coyotes comes from, one might assume it is for the same or very similar intentions that BlackBerry billionaire Jim Balsillie has made undeniably clear.
Toronto Argonauts co-owners Howard Sokolowski and David Cynamon have been named in a list of four potential buyers for the Coyotes, according to Paul Waldie of The Globe and Mail in Toronto. But get this. Sokolowski and Cynamon want to keep the team in Phoenix should they be the winning bid.
That is right. They do want to do just that.
It is not what you expected, did you? When you think of any Canadian investors looking to acquire the Coyotes, they wouldn't want to keep the team where they are after the Coyotes reportedly have lost up to $316 million since they arrived in Arizona, right? Apparently, not these two men who own the most successful Canadian Football League franchise in history with 15 Grey Cup championships, most recently in 2004.
National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman said the league has received a "preliminary background application" from each bidder according to court papers filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court. The deadline District of Arizona judge Redfield T. Baum set for both the league and outgoing owner Jerry Moyes was yesterday.
According to Waldie's article, an offer from Sokolowski and Cynamon would compete with Balsillie's current $212.5 million offer for the club and move it to Hamilton, Ontario.
Moyes filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 5th before a reported letter of intent for the league to agree to a sale to Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. As a part of his filing for bankruptcy, Moyes agreed to sell the team to Balsillie to recover some of the monetary losses he has suffered while he has been the Coyotes' majority owner. The NHL and Moyes have been in court for more than a month fighting for control of the struggling Phoenix franchise.
The next court hearing is set for June 9th at the United States Bankruptcy Courthouse in downtown Phoenix. The legality issue of relocation will be presented and heard. It is possible a ruling will be made to determine if either the NHL or Moyes went through the proper procedures in the sale of the club, who has the authority to do so and whether or not current NHL rules are enforcable in this case when it comes to the operation and sale of the club in its current location or if it can be moved to another city.