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Judge Leaves Door Open For All Interested Coyotes Bidders
Published September 3, 2009
RELOCATION KEY MATTER: In Hamilton, Ken Peters writes the relocation matter "emerged as the key issue and one that isn't expected to be determined until next week." Baum wants to hear "expert testimony and argument a week from today about whether the bankrupt Coyotes can be relocated to Hamilton." If Baum rules that can occur, then Balsillie "would participate in a sales auction" with the NHL and Ice Edge Holdings, "likely the following day, Sept. 11" (HAMILTON SPECTATOR, 9/3). After the hearing, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the proposal from Balsillie's PSE Sports & Entertainment to "move the team either before or during the coming season 'shows a lack of respect for the game.'" Bettman: "I think the arguments by PSE on moving the club treats rather frivolously the issues that all sports leagues have. I think it disrespects the game and it disrespects the players and what they have to go through night in and night out to do the great things they do on the ice" (AP, 9/2).
MAPLE LEAF MOTIVATION? In Toronto, Kevin McGran notes the Maple Leafs "haven't said a word since billionaire Jim Balsillie announced his intention to put an NHL team" in Hamilton, but the Maple Leafs are "playing a huge role in the continuing" saga. Discussion of the Maple Leafs and "whether they have a veto to stop Balsillie ... dominated much of yesterday's proceedings." Kessler said that the NHL "acted in bad faith in rejecting" Balsillie's ownership application, "concocting the character and integrity issue to avoid a potential lawsuit from the Leafs." Kessler: "What Toronto has done is make it very clear: 'If you were to allow any team into Hamilton or southern Ontario over our objection, then you will have a massive lawsuit because we think you're violating our constitutional rights.'" NHL lawyers responded in court, calling Kessler's notion "preposterous." Bettman added that the league "doesn't fear a suit by the Leafs" (TORONTO STAR, 9/3).
Writers See No End
In Sight For Balsillie
TRYING TIMES: In Toronto, Damien Cox writes, "With summer now gone and training camps about to open, the Coyotes are symbolic of the multi-faceted mess in which the NHL, or the business of the NHL, finds itself with the 2009-10 season less than a month away." The league is "being overwhelmed by multiple quagmires of which the Coyotes are only one," and it is "like the highway to the future is suddenly pockmarked with sinkholes" (TORONTO STAR, 9/3).