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DALY DISCUSSES NHL'S BID ON COYOTES

Thursday, 08.27.2009 / 6:57 PM / Features
By Dave Vest
Editor’s Note: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly spoke with Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com over the telephone Thursday afternoon regarding the league's bid on the Coyotes and other issues.

Listen to the entire interview here

Q:
Bill, let’s jump right into it. On Tuesday, the league submitted its own bid for the Coyotes franchise. Can you first explain the league’s decision to bid on the team?

A:
“Well, ultimately we came to a determination after, you know, a fairly long process already in bankruptcy, that the bankruptcy sale process really wasn’t producing or maximizing the value of this club and producing the level of interest that we think should exist in this club. And we felt and made a determination that the best way to approach the situation and to preserve the asset’s value and to maximize its value was to extricate the club from the bankruptcy process as quickly as we could. And part of that process would be presenting a condition-free bid to purchase the club in bankruptcy and give the court the alternative to approve that bid at the September 10th hearing.”

Q:
I have seen conflicting numbers for the league’s bid. Can you provide any details on the bid with regards to finances and the team’s future in Glendale?

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.
A: “Well, the bid is premised on basically trying to pay the club’s creditors, trying to step up for the obligations of the club, and taking control of the club and then putting it into kind of a rational sales process. We said in our release on Tuesday, and it’s really been our intention since the start of this process, that our No. 1 priority is to find a local purchaser in Phoenix. We’re committed to the Phoenix marketplace. We think this team can be successful here and we remain committed. Obviously, there does need to be some work. We need to sit down with the city of Glendale and see if we can come up with a kind of a win-win arrangement in revising the lease with them, and that’s something we’re committed to doing. But we remain committed for the long term to this franchise being in (the) Glendale/Phoenix area.”

Q:
The league’s bid wasn’t the only bid officially submitted the other day. There was one from the group known as Ice Edge Holdings. I’m just curious what the league’s position is on the bid by Ice Edge Holdings. Does the league consider them a competitor or is it some sort of different relationship where, you know, actually the league might be rooting for Ice Edge Holdings?

A:
“Obviously, we both submitted bids so in that sense we’re competitors. But as we said in our release ... we applaud Ice Edge for coming a very, very long way in a short period of time in terms of getting up to speed on this. I think they’re committed to the club’s future in Glendale. There continue to be some contingencies with their bid and we’ve reached out to them and encouraged them to try to deal with those contingencies and get them resolved before September 10th, and it could very well be the case that on September 10th we go to court and they are ruled or approved as the highest and best bid, and we would encourage them to get to that result.”

Q:
Jerry Reinsdorf’s group pulled out of the bankruptcy auction process. How disappointed was the league that that happened, and does that mean that’s the end of the Reinsdorf group or might we see them down the road should the league get control of the team?

A:
“Obviously, it’s unfortunate and it’s really a result of this ... unfortunate process. I think it’s been an unusual process to say the least and we find different parties in the process having different motivations. And ultimately it made it a very difficult process for potential bidders and, in particular, Mr. Reinsdorf in this case and that’s, you know, another reason why we felt like we needed to get in there, make a bid, try to get this club out of the bankruptcy process, stabilize its operations and then conduct a sensible and rational sale process to, again, maximize the value and secure the club’s future in Glendale. With respect to whether Reinsdorf may reappear, obviously they publicly announced they’re out. I have no reason to believe that they’re reconsidering that or may revisit it. But it’s also been my experience that people can change their minds. So maybe in a more rational sale process in the future they would be an interested bidder. I just don’t know.”

Q: My final question is in regards to what’s next, and according to my calendar that’s September 2nd where everyone will be back in court. What are you expecting to happen that day?

A:
“Well, obviously I think there’s a pretty long list of motions that the court will hear. From our perspective, the primary motion that may be heard on September 2nd is whether Jim Balsillie is a qualified bidder. As people probably know, the league has passed on Mr. Balsillie’s ownership transfer application. (We) unanimously rejected that application and from our owners’ perspective he’s not an acceptable business partner. So, we’ve made a motion and we want the court to rule that so that perhaps he won’t be allowed to be a participant in the September 10th auction. The other issue we wanted certainty on and we’ve made a motion for certainty on is that the Coyotes will play their home schedule in the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale for 2009-10. Obviously, our hope and goal is that they’ll play (there) for a lot longer than that, but clearly we want the court to create some certainty with respect to this upcoming season.”

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