Moyes Vs. The NHL: What Is Going On In Phoenix?

Allen PopelsCorrespondent IJuly 31, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - JUNE 25:  A Phoenix Coyotes jersey and 'Game on Arizona' are displayed during an open house at Jobing.com Arena on June 25, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The battle for control of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes seems to get stranger by the hour.

Thursday reports surfaced that the league had unanimously approved the bid from Jerry Reinsdorf to purchase the team.  Reinsdorf is currently the owner of the NBA's Chicago Bulls and the MLB's Chicago White Sox.

However, late in the day another report made headlines from the current owner of the CoyotesJerry Moyes would challenge the NHL ruling in his attempt to sell the team to Jim Balsille.

The motive behind Moyes' actions are simple, it's the money.  Balsille, the Canadian businessman with a seemingly endless wallet, has offered $212.5 million for the Coyotes, which is almost $65 million more than the Reinsdorf bid.

The question behind all of this is what rights does Moyes still have in this process?  He filed for chapter 11 protection back on May 5th in a move to try and block the NHL from taking control of the failing franchise, even though many reports say that the league had been helping out his club financially throughout the previous season.

His lawyer stated today that Reinsdorf's bid "cannot be approved as a matter of law" and that "there are no qualified bidders" based on the terms set by the court.

The whole situation brings up a larger issue regarding just how much control the owner of a professional franchise has.  Does he have the right to sell his team to the highest bidder no matter what the league says?  Does he have the right to file for bankruptcy to protect his best interests even though it wouldn't be in the best interests of the league?

You can bet that representatives from the NBA, NFL, and MLB are paying close attention to the outcome of this case as it will set the standard for any future problems those leagues may have with one of their franchises.

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