After what probably seemed like an eternity for fans, and players alike, the City of Glendale is keeping the Phoenix Coyotes.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Redfield T. Baum decided to reject both Jim Balsille's and the NHL's offers to purchase the financially troubled franchise.
"In hockey parlance, the court is passing the puck to the NHL, who can decide to take another shot at the sale net or it can pass off the puck," -Judge Redfield T. Baum
In one of his smartest moves so far, Balsille has said that he will not be appealing the decision. I believe this will help build a better relationship with the NHL Board of Governors. Showing that he is man enough to admit when he has lost such a valiant fight.
"I want to take this opportunity to thank my family for all their love and support. I also want to thank the more than 200,000 fans who supported the bid online and the countless others who contacted me personally to show their support. This bid always was about the game we all love," -Jim Balsille
In Judge Baum's over 28 page ruling he went on to say that neither of the bids by either party would work for a variety of reasons. The NHL's bid was not considered because of the NHL's plan on who to specifically pay and not pay. The NHL did say they were going to pay all of the creditors in full.
"There has been no determination that the Moyes and Gretzky claims are not 'legitimate creditors.' It would be inherently unjust for this court to deprive them of their possible rightful share of any proceeds without first providing all involved a fair trial on their claims." -Judge Redfield T. Baum
The ruling also stated that Balsille's offer was rejected "with prejudice" meaning that he now has absolutely no chance whatsoever of purchasing the Phoenix Coyotes out of bankruptcy. The NHL's was rejected "without prejudice" meaning that if they are willing they will be able to amend their offer and re-submit it.
I will be honest, I was really rooting for Mr. Balsille to win this franchise. Not because I don't think that hockey in the south won't work, because it does. Take one look at the Stars, Hurricanes, Ducks and Lightning. While yes the Lightning aren't going to be battling for the playoffs this year, they were Stanley Cup Champions just 5 short years ago. The Hurricanes drank from the Cup the season following the infamous lockout. The Ducks hoisted Lord Stanley's Cup after the 'Canes. Are you seeing a pattern? Hockey in the south can work as long as there is a faithful fan base to support the team during the highs and lows that every NHL will inevitably go through.
While I do think that the Coyotes would be infinitely more profitable in Hamilton, I do think that they can survive in the Phoenix/Glendale area. It's going to take a Herculean effort on the part of the fans now to keep this franchise in Phoenix. This next paragraph is directed toward any Coyotes fan who happened to wander over here:
Prove the NHL right in saying that you deserve this franchise. Commissioner Gary Bettman put a lot on the line to keep your team where it is. That's right, it's your team. You have a terrific core of young players to build on. You also now have an outstanding head coach in Dave Tippet, who, if you buy into his system can lead this team to great things. However, if you aren't going out in masses to support the team you love, it will be gone.