Judge says could reject both NHL and Balsillie bids

Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:02pm EDT
 
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By Ben Klayman and David Schwartz

CHICAGO/PHOENIX (Reuters) - The judge overseeing the case of the National Hockey League's bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes has raised the possibility of rejecting both current bids for the money-losing team.

Judge Redfield Baum of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix said at a sale hearing on Thursday that he could determine that bids by both the National Hockey League and Canadian billionaire James Balsillie were unacceptable.

"Just so we're all clear, there is a third possibility -- no sale," Baum said. "It's more than theoretical. You all ought to keep that in mind."

The judge did not specify what would happen to the Coyotes if he made that ruling.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman declined to comment on the judge's statement during a break.

He and Balsillie had been scheduled to take the stand on Thursday, but their appearances were pushed to Friday.

Thomas Salerno, an attorney for Coyotes owner and trucking magnate Jerry Moyes, said one possible option could be that the NHL continued to fund the team until a buyer was found.

The Coyotes, one of the NHL's 30 teams, filed for bankruptcy protection in May.   Continued...

 
<p>Canadian billionaire James Balsillie arrives at the U.S. Federal Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix, Arizona, September 10, 2009. REUTERS/Joshua Lott</p>