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Bettman updates Coyotes situation on NHL Hour

by Mike G. Morreale
NEW YORK -- The status of the Phoenix Coyotes was a main topic Thursday during the NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman as fans dialed in following Monday's report that the League has reached a tentative agreement to buy the Coyotes out of bankruptcy.

After nearly a year of court battles, lawyers for the NHL and Jerry Moyes reached a deal following an hour-long meeting outside a federal bankruptcy court in Phoenix. The agreement must still be approved by Judge Redfield T. Baum.

"We had a hearing last week in bankruptcy court in Phoenix and we needed to restructure our bid to the satisfaction of those involved," Bettman said. "The hearing involved plenty of discussion and negotiation and, in the end, a proposal was put in place. We'll have another hearing on Monday and, sometime in the next week or two, we intend to get the club out of bankruptcy by purchasing the franchise. Then our intentions are to sell the franchise as quickly as possible to a new owner."

On Monday, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly released the following statement:

"A tentative agreement was reached among the parties to amend the NHL's offer to purchase the Coyotes franchise out of bankruptcy, and a proposed order, mutually agreed to by the parties, will be filed with the Court seeking approval of the NHL's amended bid.

"If there is no objection from the parties involved, and subject to any potential objections and a hearing if necessary, the parties hope to close the sale of the Club to the NHL by Monday, November 2.

"It remains the NHL's intention upon taking control of the Club to stabilize the Club's operations and, as quickly as possible, to re-sell the Club to a new owner who is committed to operating the Club in the Glendale/Phoenix market."

Bettman's special guest this week was eight-time NHL All-Star Luc Robitaille, who'll be enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 9. Robitaille, now the president of business operations for the Los Angeles Kings, discussed his playing career, current business role and charitable endeavors.

Bettman asked Robitaille to explain the reasoning behind why he was drafted so late (ninth round, No. 171 overall) in 1984.

"I remember some people saying I was slower than a Zamboni, so forget about it," Robitaille laughed. "Not many scouts attended games back then, but the scout who saw something in me (Alex Smart) was really the only one to talk to me that year. I knew Los Angeles would give me a chance."

Robitaille, the highest-scoring left wing in NHL history and the all-time leader in goals scored for the Los Angeles Kings, will be inducted into the Hall with former Detroit Red Wings teammates Steve Yzerman and Brett Hull, two-time Norris Trophy winner and Rangers' teammate Brian Leetch and New Jersey Devils executive Lou Lamoriello, who was elected in the Builder's category.

Contact Mike Morreale at

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