CHICAGO – National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman issued the following statement following today's Board of Governors meeting:
"The National Hockey League's Board of Governors met this afternoon to review the ownership applications of three prospective ownership groups for the Phoenix Coyotes. The Board's process today represents the League's best efforts to comply with the League's review procedures pursuant to NHL Constitution Article 3.5 and NHL By-Law 35 within the timetable imposed by the ongoing court process.
"There were three applicant groups that were interviewed by the Executive Committee and considered by the Board. One was Jim Balsillie's. The second was a group headed by Anthony LeBlanc, involving Mr. LeBlanc, Keith McCullough, Todd Jordan and Daryl Jones. And the third group, headed by Jerry Reinsdorf, included as well Tony Tavares and John Kaites.
"After interviewing all of the applications, the Executive Committee brought forward recommendations to the full Board of Governors.
"Mr. Reinsdorf's application was unanimously approved by all those Board members present and voting, subject to the League's completion of its due diligence and review of the final transaction. In Mr. Balsillie's case, it was the unanimous vote of all members present and voting that his application not be approved. With respect to the LeBlanc group, it was determined that, at this stage, since they've only recently begun the process, the application was incomplete and could not yet be acted on by the Board. However, the Executive Committee reported favorably on the LeBlanc group's interview and endorsed the group's continued efforts to complete a bid to purchase the franchise.
"We will so advise the Bankruptcy Court and we will move this process forward."