Even Gretzky Can't Prevent NHL's Coyotes From Melting

May 6, 2009: On the ice, Wayne Gretzky was considered a wizard who could perform magic with his hockey stick. But as managing partner, alternate governor and head coach, Gretzky could not work his magic to prevent the Phoenix Coyotes from sinking into a financial mess and, on May 5, declaring for bankruptcy. However, the NHL immediately responded to the Chapter 11 filing by removing Coyotes' CEO and managing member Jerry Moyes "from all positions of authority to act for or on behalf of the club." That put on hold a potential sale of the team to Jim Balsillie, the co-CEO of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, Ontario, who wants to relocate the franchise back to Canada, where they existed as the Winnipeg Jets in both the World Hockey Association and NHL from 1972-96. According to a statement from team ownership, the Coyotes filed for Chapter 11 reorganization "to implement a court-approved sale of the team under the federal bankruptcy code." “Extensive efforts have been undertaken to sell the team, or attract additional investors, who would keep the team in Glendale,” Moyes said in a statement. However, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement, “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.” The league's plan is to resolve new ownership and the team’s location by June 30, 2009, allowing the NHL to include the team in its 2009-10 schedule. Back to Home Page