Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Judge Baum to reconvene

Before he puts pen to paper, Judge Redfield T. Baum has ordered the two sides of the acrimonious Phoenix Coyotes case to return to his chambers on Wednesday morning for more of that court room drama that has made bankruptcy law a participation sport across Canada.

The Judge issued his call to court on Monday, that after yet a new development in the case which saw Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk give the NHL one of those oh, oh damage control time moments.

Mr. Melnyk, while appearing last week on the Bob McCown program Prime Time Sports on The Fan 590 and Rogers Sportsnet, offered up his interpretation of NHL affairs that he as an owner had the right to block any move into his territory, in effect he claims a veto, and by that declaration he appears to have pulled the NHL itself back into the debate of whether they hold a veto right over home territories, something they denied in court.

Bill Daly the Deputy Commissioner of the NHL stuck to that talking point with his appearance on the McCown program on Monday, suggesting that there is no veto in effect in the NHL, while providing his interpretation, (or is that spin?) of what Mr Melnyk meant to say.

It's thought that the legal representatives of the NHL may get a chance to explain that whole veto thing again with the Judge on Wednesday, with Judge Baum anxious we are sure to hear more about what can and can't be done with an NHL franchise.

The Balsillie camp is hoping to introduce that bit of radio drama into the discussion, hopeful that the veto issue, may provide some impact on the deliberations of the judge as he weighs which offer, the Balsille group or the NHL should gain custody of the unwanted collection of hockey waifs known as the Coyotes.

While that drama plays out in court, the waifs are busy on the ice having recently hosted a home exhibition game against the Los Angeles Kings. That game perhaps providing the most damning evidence of the NHL's struggles in Phoenix, with all the talk of bankruptcy, potential relocation and dysfunction of the desert, attendance was hovering around 2,000 fans, most of whom apparently couldn't find anything else to do and took in the pre season game.

To put that number into perspective, that's slightly more than the Hockeyville crowd of Terrace BC, last week, which featured a game between the Islanders and Canucks.
For those without a handy almanac at the moment, the Metropolitan area population of Phoenix is 4,281,899, of which 4,279,899 apparently aren't much in the way of hockey fans.

Terrace's metropolitan population is a little less than 18,000 and that on a good day when the U haul rentals are slow, but judging by the turnout there last week, pro rated to population, Terrace is by far a more worthy candidate for a professional hockey team than Phoenix appears to be.

Hmmm, maybe when all is said and done, the judge will send the team north, but to the Northwest and not the northeast...
Globe and Mail-- Judge orders hearing on Coyotes
Globe and Mail-- Balsillie tries to strengthen case
National Post-- Judge orders emergency hearing on Coyotes
Toronto Star-- Coyotes judge to hear case for mediation
Hamilton Spectator/CP-- Judge Baum orders another hearing in Coyotes bankruptcy case
Arizona Republic-- Judge to weigh Coyotes mediation

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