Owner Moyes challenges Reinsdorf's bid for financially troubled Coyotes

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PHOENIX - Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes has challenged Jerry Reinsdorf's bid to buy the financially troubled hockey team.

In a motion filed in bankruptcy court on Thursday, Moyes' lawyer said that Reinsdorf's bid "cannot be approved as a matter of law" and that "there are no qualified bidders" based on terms set by the court.

The motion did not elaborate but says that Moyes' objection will be laid out in court documents on Friday, the deadline for filing objections to Reinsdorf's bid.

By disputing the legality of Reinsdorf's offer, Moyes is setting the stage for a battle pitting him and unsecured creditors against the NHL and the city of Glendale.

Later Thursday, lawyers for Glendale and the NHL asked the court to postpone next Wednesday's local bid auction, saying Reinsdorf and another potential bidder, Ice Edge Holdings, needed more time.

The league said in its filing Thursday that it understood that Ice Edge would make a bid on Friday.

Glendale said that it is "very close to a definitive agreement with each of the Reinsdorf group and Ice Edge that would allow the team, under new ownership, to continue to play at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale for the foreseeable future with strong economic essentials and support from all necessary constituencies."

The filings did not divulge what the "strong economic essentials" would be or provide details of the negotiations.

Glendale asked Judge Redfield T. Baum to postpone the sale to "early to mid-September." The NHL, meanwhile, asked Baum to set a Sept. 10 deadline.

The filings by Moyes, Glendale and the NHL came one day after the NHL Board of Governors approved Reinsdorf's US$148 million bid and unanimously rejected an application by Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, who has offered $212.5 million contingent on moving the franchise to Hamilton.

An application by Ice Edge, led by Anthony LeBlanc of Thunder Bay, Ont., was deemed "incomplete," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. That consortium was encouraged by the board to continue with the application process.

The group headed by Reinsdorf, the owner of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls, has said it plans to keep the team in Glendale, where the Coyotes have lost tens of millions of dollars in recent seasons.

Details of Reinsdorf's bid have not been made public. Reinsdorf's group has been negotiating with the city of Glendale to rework the lease agreement to play in Jobing.com Arena.

The NHL wants to keep the team in Arizona and believes the franchise can be successful with better management and a better product on the ice.

More than 500 documents have been filed in the complex case since Moyes surprised the NHL by taking the team into Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 5.

Moyes says he is owed $300 million, and under the Balsillie deal, Moyes would receive about $100 million. But under the Reinsdorf proposal, Moyes would get little if anything because of the contention that the $300 million is lost equity and not a debt.



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