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Court throws out NHL’s claims against former Coyotes owner

Oct 8, 2013, 5:26 PM EDT

Wayne Gretzky Getty Images

What, you thought the Phoenix Coyotes bankruptcy story was dead and buried? Come on now, of course it’s not.

From the Arizona Republic:

A federal bankruptcy court in Arizona threw out most of the National Hockey League’s claims against former Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes for expenses associated with the team’s tenure in bankruptcy and NHL ownership.

Moyes filed the team for bankruptcy in 2009.

After months of courtroom wrangling, the NHL purchased and ran the franchise for nearly four years before selling it in August to a new group of owners.

The NHL filed suit against Moyes in 2010, claiming multiple instances of breach of agreements and fiduciary duty.

The NHL initially sought to recover $145.9 million from Moyes, including $112.7 million in operational losses while the league ran the team and $6.5 million in unpaid salary for former coach Wayne Gretzky.

To be clear, this is a dispute between the NHL and Moyes; it doesn’t involve the Coyotes or their new owners.

The Gretzky angle is an interesting one though. Will The Great One ever get the money that’s owed to him?

Matheson is a sportswriter for the Edmonton Journal who’s covered the Oilers since the 1970s. For his expanded thoughts on the issue, click here.

Whether the NHL passes the hat for No. 99 down the road, we’ll have to wait and see. It’s been discussed by the Board of Governors before, so it’s not out of the question.

  1. bobc74 - Oct 8, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Or maybe Gretsky should have taken a cue from Mario Lemieux. Lemieux was also owed millions by the Penguins when he retired (the first time). So he put together an investment group and bought the team, thus ensuring he be paid back all the money owed.

  2. 19wasthebest - Oct 8, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Maybe they should have let Balsillie buy the team when he was offering the bankruptcy court way more money that the NHL paid. Then the league would not have lost any money.

    • bricevjohnson - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      Judging from how much cash revenue BlackBerry has lost since BB10 and his fall out with the company (both of which would have obliterated his ability to finance the team), I would say that Bettman and the NHL team owners actually made a good call not allowing Ballsillie to buy the team. That may not have been the reason for keeping him from purchasing Nashville, Pittsburgh or Phoenix, but it still worked out better than the alternative.

  3. canucks30 - Oct 8, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    This article makes it seem like Gretzky is in danger of panhandling.

    Yes he should get the money owed to him but I think he’ll manage to put food on the table.

    • kaptaanamerica - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:16 PM

      No he shouldn’t. He was an unsecured creditor. He has no claims that stand up after the bankruptcy. I would argue it was his shiite coaching that lead to the bankruptcy in the first place. He had a decent team that got ran into the ground with a bad coach.

      He should have come out of retirement if he wanted to get paid.

  4. beaver15 - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    ^ funny!

  5. hockeyflow33 - Oct 9, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    It’s pretty disgusting how the NHL has treated the second greatest player of all time, (Orr is 1 I don’t care what you say), through this whole process. Regardless of his standing in the bankruptcy proceedings, the NHL should have done the right thing and paid him instead of ostracizing him from the league.

    • sporkov - Oct 9, 2013 at 11:14 PM

      Actually, Gretzky is just reaping what he has sown. When you are brought into an ownership group by non-hockey people for two things, as a good will ambassador and your hockey knowledge/connections (head of hockey operations), and you hire your agent as GM and are as pleasant as hugging a Saguaro at fan functions, this is what you get.

      Honestly, the NHL might want to look into getting some of its cash back from 99 for the crap he did to the Coyotes.

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