Here we go again: NHL sues Jerry Moyes
It's been nearly a year since Jerry Moyes sent the Phoenix Coyotes to bankruptcy court in order to sell them to Jim Balsillie. And after a long legal battle which ended with Balsillie giving up on his nearly decade-long battle to own an NHL franchise and move them to Canada, it seems as though it's about to get a little bit longer for most of the parties involved.
As of Friday, the NHL has filed a lawsuit against the former owner, alleging that Moyes breached his contract and violated a number of agreements between himself and the league when he set into motion the bankruptcy proceedings that flooded the hockey headlines throughout the summer and early fall. "The league claims that Moyes' bankruptcy filing and a related antitrust lawsuit were part of a scheme to evade those terms and pass the team to Balsillie, who wanted to relocate the franchise to Hamilton," says the Canadian Press.
The NHL will attempt to sue the pants off of Moyes, seeking monetary compensation that includes at least $61 million, an amount composed of the NHL's legal fees in the bankruptcy battle, the $20 million the NHL expects to lose operating the Coyotes this season, and the $8 million that is believed to be owed to former coach Wayne Gretzky.
Complicating the matter is Moyes, who's lawyer has said will file a counterclaim, that will allege that the NHL did not act in "good faith" by failing to seriously consider Balisillie's offer to buy the team, and citing the fact that Moyes has lost over $300 million in operating the team since 2006.
What's been a very public and grueling legal battle is about to get a little more complicated and nasty.
You can't blame Moyes for what he did, or at least attempted to do. Majority owner of the Coyotes since 2006, there wasn't much more that Moyes could have done to help lift the team past it's troubles, financial or sports related, in the three years he ran the team. Asking a man to lose $300 million and disallowing him from doing what will hedge the biggest portion of losses is wrong. In fact, what the NHL tried to do in limiting Moyes' options to sell the team based on some unexplained, unintelligible crusade to keep a hockey team in the middle of the desert is a little something that's called "antitrust".
Nevertheless, Moyes and Balsillie lost that court battle, but Moyes has a chance to redeem himself against his former business partners in this new lawsuit, one that will be VERY public.
There are many questions surrounding this situation. Who will win? Is the NHL justified in suing Moyes? Is Moyes right in counter-suing? Where do the Coyotes and their status fit into all of this?
But none are more resounding than the following:
After Gary Bettman has proved that he doesn't care about his owners, and only his own, unexplainable agenda, who would want to do business with him and the NHL in the future?
Many questions to be asked, most certain to be answered over the coming months.