The president of the Toronto Maple Leafs won't be getting involved in the court fight over the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes.
Judge Redfield T. Baum on Thursday denied the request of lawyers for Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie and Coyotes majority owner Jerry Moyes to get a deposition from Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment president Richard Peddie.
Moyes and Balsillie, the co-CEO of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, wanted to know what role the Leafs would play in Balsillie's proposed relocation of the Coyotes to Hamilton.
Balsillie has offered $212.5 million US to buy the Coyotes on the premise he can relocate the team to Hamilton, but he says he'll withdraw his bid if he can't move the team immediately in time for the coming season.
His company, PSE Sports and Entertainment, filed a document on Wednesday stating it believes "the Maple Leafs are trying to block PSE's purchase of the Coyotes in order to prevent a Hamilton relocation and competition with the Maple Leafs in southern Ontario."
In an order naming officials who will give depositions in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, Baum denied the request to put Peddie in the hot seat.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly will be deposed for a second time, as will Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold.
Balsillie, his aide Richard Rodier and Moyes will also be deposed.
NHL must hand over relocation docs
Baum also authorized a deposition from "an unnamed, but to be disclosed, NHL representative regarding the impossibility of relocating the Coyotes for the current season."
Despite objections from the NHL, the judge also ordered the league to hand over documents related to relocation that Balsillie's lawyers say is necessary for the Canadian's bid to proceed.
Baum said the league has to provide any NHL study of expansion into the Hamilton market in the last decade, and it must also hand over expansion and relocation fees it has charged since 1999.
The NHL says the relocation issue is dead because its board of governors unanimously rejected Balsillie as a potential owner.
Baum also set up bid procedures and a schedule leading up to the Sept. 10 auction.
Applications from bidders who want to keep the team in Glendale must be submitted by Friday.
The NHL wants to find an owner to keep the team in Arizona, and a group headed by Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf has bid $148 US million to do just that.
Reinsdorf's group is working on an agreement with the City of Glendale for new terms on a lease.
Ice Edge Holdings has also been working on a bid to keep the team in Glendale.
In another order on Thursday, Baum denied a motion on behalf of eight Glendale taxpayers represented by the Goldwater Institute to file a conditional bid objection.
The group argued that taxpayers have a right to know the details of Glendale's arena lease renegotiations with Reinsdorf's group, but Baum ruled they "do not have a direct financial stake in the outcome of this case."