Winning games won't help Coyotes in Phoenix: Moyes
Jerry Moyes has taken his case to the readers of the Arizona Republic, arguing that the Phoenix Coyotes could not succeed in the marketplace even with a winning hockey team.
Moyes reached a deal with Jim Balsillie, the co-chief executive of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, whereby the Canadian billionaire purchased the bankrupt team for $212.5 million US. Balsillie plans to move the club to Ontario.
Moyes said in a letter to the newspaper published Friday it was the only offer that has been made that would allow all of the creditors of the Coyotes to be paid.
The NHL has contested the right of Moyes to sell, claiming he ceded ownership in November when the league took over the struggling club.
Moyes, 63, characterized himself as an "accidental owner" of the Coyotes, one who gradually took over after being involved through a small loan to previous owner Steve Elkman.
He has now sunk about $300 million into the club and expects to lose two-thirds of that even if the sale to Balsillie is approved, he said.
The NHL has argued that hockey can succeed in Arizona, and some observers have argued that the club's continued history of losing has prevented an accurate gauge on whether the Coyotes could succeed.
However, Moyes said the quality of play on the ice was immaterial.
"Let me stress that all who have objectively looked at this issue recognize that our financial problems result primarily from the structure of our [lease] agreements and not the management of the team," Moyes said. "Even a winning team would not stop us from losing money unless we received some concessions."
Moyes said that since Glendale has been unable to commit to concessions, it would be unfair for the NHL to try to extract those concessions for a preferred bidder just so it can prevent Balsillie from owning the club.
" … I don't think it's reasonable for the city or the NHL to go to the next person with deep pockets and give that person a deal they would not give me and the investors I sought to attract," Moyes wrote.
A bankruptcy hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in Phoenix to begin to untangle the ownership question.