The NHL has been ordered to turn over documents relating to the league's purported discussions with Jerry Reinsdorf about his interest in buying the financially troubled Phoenix Coyotes.
A motion requesting the documents was filed by Coyotes ownership on Monday in U.S. bankruptcy court in Arizona, and the court ruled the NHL has until 10:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday to produce them.
The aim behind the request was "to examine the content of [the league's discussions with Reinsdorf] and the potential offer outstanding by Mr. Reinsdorf related to these purported interests," according to the court documents.
The NHL was caught by surprise last week by the Coyotes' Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and an offer by Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie to buy the club for $212.5 million US on condition he be allowed to move it to southern Ontario.
The NHL is now challenging whether Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes had the authority to seek bankruptcy protection. Last week, the NHL said in a statement that it removed Moyes from all positions of authority to act for or on behalf of the club.
The league argued in court documents filed Monday that Moyes gave NHL commissioner Gary Bettman an "irrevocable proxy" to control his franchise on Nov. 14 in exchange for $38 million US in league money to stay afloat.
In an effort to block Balsillie's bid, the NHL has approached Reinsdorf — the chairman of the NBA's Chicago Bulls and Major League Baseball's Chicago White Sox — about buying the team.
The Canadian Press quoted NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly last week as saying that the league's discussions with Reinsdorf were "very far along" and that there was "a letter of intent that [the NHL was] prepared to deliver to Jerry Moyes on Tuesday of this week."
Citing "various expressions of interest," Daly said there are other purchase offers that would keep the team in suburban Glendale.
Monday's court ruling also ordered the NHL to turn over documents relating to these other purported discussions.