A bankruptcy court judge on Tuesday ordered the NHL and Jerry Moyes into mediation to determine who controls the Coyotes.
Judge Redfield T. Baum presided over nearly four hours of arguments in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in downtown Phoenix. Baum instructed the sides to report back to him on their progress on May 27.
“You guys are either going to mediate this or I'm going to rule on it,” Baum said.
|NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly (center) answers questions as he leaves U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix after a hearing on the Coyotes on Tuesday. |
The NHL contends Moyes gave up control of the Coyotes on Nov. 14, 2008, and that he had no authority to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 5.
Moyes contends he never gave up control of the Coyotes and that he has a right to place it into bankruptcy.
Baum also said a ruling needs to be made on whether the Coyotes can be relocated before the team can be sold. He instructed the NHL and Moyes to make oral arguments about relocation in court on June 22.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly spoke to reporters after the hearing.
“I don’t think there were really any victories or losses today,” Daly said. “I think we got a little more clarity on the process…Obviously, we would have liked the court to have granted our motion and said we were in control because we think it’s very important for this club in the short term to be committed to maximizing its revenues, and we don’t think necessarily the Moyes group has the same incentives in doing that. Having said that, I think there are ways we can get there (and) provide the appropriate direction of the club in a very difficult time – it’s not going to be easy – that will preserve the value of the asset for potential purchasers.”
Asked if he thinks the sides can reach an agreement outside the court, Daly said: “I hope so. We’ll undertake that immediately.”
Later he added, “I will go in with an optimistic view that cooler heads can prevail and we can come up with somebody or some way to manage this team in a way that preserves the asset the best it can in the short term.”
Moyes did not speak to reporters.
"We were encouraged by what took place in the courtroom," said Steve Roman, a spokesman for Moyes. "As far as the issue of mediation, all that's going forward. We're very pleased with that."
Daly also reaffirmed the NHL’s desire to keep the team in Arizona.
“It’s our position, and I think you heard (the City of) Glendale echo that, that this team can be successful in Glendale.”
Gary Husk served as a spokesman for Glendale after Tuesday's hearing.
"The City of Glendale feels very strongly that the position that has been expressed by the NHL is one that is consistent with what Glendale has articulated all along, which is that there is a biding interest here on the part of Glendale to restrict the relocation (of the franchise) both contractually and by league rules," Husk said. EDITOR'S NOTE:
Russell Brooks of phoenixcoyotes.com contributed to this article.