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League sues ex-Coyotes owner Moyes

Mar 5, 2010, 11:30 PM EDT

gretzkybeleaguered.jpgOn the ice, the Phoenix Coyotes have been one of the league’s true Cinderella stories. Unfortunately, the scoreboard cannot heal all wounds.

Reuters reports that the NHL is suing former Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes for a laundry list of concerns and may also seek an $8 million debt owed to legendary player and decidedly sub-par coach Wayne Gretzky. I won’t embarrass you or myself by trying to give some kind of legal analysis of the lawsuit. Instead, here’s some of the details from that Reuters report.

According to the complaint, the NHL is seeking $30 million for violations of the agreement, $10 million for aiding and abetting violations of the Coyotes’ fiduciary duty to the league, $10 million of punitive damages, and $11.6 million to cover amounts that the NHL paid to Coyotes creditors.

The NHL said it may also seek to recover $8 million that represents unpaid salary owed to Wayne Gretzky, the Hall of Fame center and former Coyotes coach. It said whether Gretzky is owed that money will be determined in the bankruptcy case.

In the complaint, the NHL also said it was forced to buy the Coyotes because of the defendants’ actions, and “expects to incur approximately $20 million in losses as a result of that purchase in the current NHL season.”

Ugh, what a miserable situation. Obviously, the league couldn’t allow Jim Balsillie to pull an end-around to buy the Coyotes, but they’re paying dearly (potentially $20 million) to keep a franchise out of his Blackberry-clutching hands. Sometimes, you get what you pay for … and in this case, the NHL got a huge headache.

  1. Tom - Mar 6, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Why would anyone want to buy an NHL franchise with the risk of the league refusing to let you sell the team, taking the team away from you, and then suing you for their losses?

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