Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO of RIM is making an aggressive move to get a 32-year lease for Copps Coliseum, buy the Phoenix Coyotes and move them to Hamilton, but the city of Arizona is trying to block his slapshot.
The city of Glendale, Ariz., laid out its legal objections to the proposed sale of the Coyotes, saying a bankruptcy court judge shouldn’t consider the sale of the team “based on the false premise that (the winning bidders) are legally capable of relocating the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team.”
The Glendale believes that their bankruptcy doesn’t allow the Coyotes to break their “Non-Relocation Covenant” that prohibits them from relocating, and requires the team to play all of its home games at the arena for the full term of the 30-year lease.
“The city believes that it has the right under applicable law to prohibit any relocation of the Phoenix Coyotes,” say the city’s documents signed by lawyer Cathy Reece. “The city believes and therefore asserts that its right to enforce the Non-Relocation Covenant under applicable law shall survive these Chapter 11 cases, including any sale of the (team).”
Obviously Arizona is not keen on the idea of losing their hockey team which generates revenue for the city. Even though the team is bankrupt, if they relocate, the city loses any potential of saving the hockey team as a revenue stream.
Although Arizona is upset about the deal, Hamilton couldn’t be happier about a team relocation. The city is expecting a surge in local spending as well as visitors from the surrounding cities for big games and events. Balsillie signed a deal which was approved unanimously by the council, promising Balsillie a long-term lease if he secures the Phoenix Coyotes. The deal includes a $5 million injection of cash from Balsillie to help upgrade the 17,000-seat arena by 2010.