It was a rough afternoon and evening for the Coyote fans here in the Valley of the Sun. The day started out so well too. Bettman was saying that he'd do what he needed to to help fix the Coyotes and that the NHL would be there to fix the team and get it running right and HERE. Just like the league had done so many times before with other teams. Then there were reports that the Commissioner was in town talking with Jerry Reinsdorf about buying the team since he put a chunk of change into getting the White Sox to move into nearby Camelback Ranch from Tucson for Spring Training. It looked like a positive day as far as all things on the Coyotes front were concerned. Then late in the afternoon the other show dropped and the lives of Coyotes fans were torn asunder with one fell swoop...
Dewey Ranch Hockey, LLC and its affiliates Arena Management Group, LLC, Coyotes Holdings, LLC and Coyotes Hockey, LLC (collectively “Coyotes”), owner of the National Hockey League (NHL) team the Phoenix Coyotes filed for Chapter 11 reorganization to implement a court-approved sale of the team under the federal bankruptcy code. The filing included a proposed sale of the franchise to PSE Sports & Entertainment, LP, a Delaware limited partnership (“PSE”), which would move the franchise to southern Ontario, Canada.
from Business Wire
Cue everyone going absolutely crazy. The fans here were absolutely stunned. Writers and some hockey fans north of the border all squealed in delight, as they saw their long awaited dream of the failure of hockey in the desert. They the team was moving back to Canada to top it off? How could it get any better? Jim BallSilly (Or however you spell his name) would finally get his Southern Ontario hockey team. And best of all it would be one less Sunbelt team. (Thank goodness huh?) But wait, there were to be more than a few wrinkles discovered as things shook out over the course of the evening. As soon as the NHL found out, that's right they didn't know, they released a terse, but telling press release:
"We have just become aware of today's Bankruptcy Court filing purportedly made on behalf of the Phoenix Coyotes. We are investigating the circumstances surrounding the petition, including the propriety of its filing. We have removed Jerry Moyes from all positions of authority to act for or on behalf of the Club. The League will appear and proceed before the Bankruptcy Court in the best interests of all of the Club's constituencies, including its fans in Arizona and the League's 29 other Member Clubs."
-Bill Daly - Deputy NHL Commissioner
It turns out that the league knew absolutely NOTHING about the offer. They were still dealing with the tabled offers they already had and trying to get the best deal they could. Moyes may have given BallSilly the loophole he had been looking for to finally get his grubby paws on a hockey team with, or without league approval. But some of the language in the release is what Coyote fans can hang on to for at least the next few days. While many writers see this as a done deal, the league apparently doesn't. They operantly don't even thing the filing of the papers is legitimate. If the offer can't be accepted then does the bankruptcy still go through? Who knows. Especially with all the limitations put on any competing offers to come in bankruptcy the stipulations that were put in may not even be enforceable by the courts. That's if they consider the offer at all now that the league is getting involved. Add to that the fact that Glendale would rather have an occupied building rather than an empty one, (Yes, even with concessions in their deal it's better) and BallSilly and Moyes are going to have one big fight to get this one through. Add to that the league taking Moyes out of the picture and the surprise almost the entire Coyotes staff. (Can't call all of them you know...) And this is just a massive stab in the back by Moyes. I don't think anyone saw this coming. Sure we figured that if a new owner could be found in the near future our guys could be leaving. But this soon? And in such an underhanded manner? I don't think so. But this is just the beginning...
If those to stooges think they can go behind everyone's back then hopefully someone gives them a smackdown. Just because BallSilly gets a concession from the current owner to move the team does not mean that he gets to move wherever he pleases. The Leafs and Sabres would have something to say if he moves to close to either area. The Court could say that basing the offer on such a move may not be enforceable (as mentioned earlier). The Board of Governors would still have to approve big parts of the deal bankruptcy or no as BallSilly doesn't have many friends there. Sure, they may be looking to get a few bucks, but at what cost? They don't want Jim in the same room as they are right now. Sure there are lots of "Ifs" and "but"s floating around in this whole thing, but don't count us out yet.
So What do we do now? We show our support for our team in any possible way we can:
Post here! - Come by this blog and post a FanPost or FanShot about how you feel about hockey, and the Coyotes. We become a harder target when others know we're out there. Or just drop in some comments if you don't have a lot to say. But say something! Anything! Let the world know we're here.
Heck, Start your own blog! - Yeah, they're saying that this could be resolved in 8 weeks, but you'd have a lot to talk about for those weeks wouldn't you?
Wear your Coyotes gear around town - We've got naysayers in our own city. Show your pride in our NHL team and make sure people know you're not just a hockey fan, but a COYOTE fan.
Get Involved! - Over the next few days you'll start seeing websites to counter some of the ones already in motion in Canada. Stop by and join them. I'm also in talks with people that want to start rallies, protests, or whatever you want to call it to show that we want this team here. If nothing else we can get more attention payed to this issue and that there are real, knowledgeable fans here in the Valley. We're not all transplants, or people that go when our "A team" is in town. We're always here.
Defend Yourself! - There are times to stand on the sidelines and wait for an opportunity for reasoned, rational debate. Quite frankly, we don't have the time for that. Pick up your keyboard, your telephone, you telegraph, whatever and fight back! Tell people that we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore! Call the Coyotes' front office. See if there's anyone there that will talk. They talk to me and I'm just a small time blogger. Call the paper, call the radio shows. Don't let the bashers be the only voice.
Take time and breathe - This isn't easy. That's why I didn't respond until I could pull myself together. This is a trying time to be a Coyotes fan. A great many of the fans here are of the Uberdedicated variety. You'll do everything and be everywhere. But take a break. Turn off the playoffs. Get away from the news and take a break every now and then. You can only take so much punishment at once. Fight hard, but know when to take a rest.
I don't know what else to say tonight. Get ready for the onslaught of articles from the East Coast morning papers and our Canadian friends. Don't forget that nothing is final yet. No matter what we fight on until the team starts playing, or at least until June 30. Good Luck and Godspeed. Most of All, GO YOTES!