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Jerry Moyes is the founder, chairman and CEO of Phoenix-based Swift Transportation, one of the largest trucking companies in the nation. Moyes is also owner of Swift Air A charter airline investigated by the FAA and OSHA in 2009. He was a majority owner of the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League before the Coyotes filed bankruptcy and were sold to the NHL in 2009, and the Arizona Sting of the National Lacrosse League. Moyes is also a limited partner in the Arizona Diamondbacks, and was once a minority owner of the Phoenix Suns.
Moyes was originally a minority partner in Steve Ellman's ownership group, which bought the Coyotes from Richard Burke in 2001. On Sept. 26, 2006, Ellman sold controlling interest in the Coyotes, Arizona Sting, and the lease to Jobing.com Arena to Moyes. He retained Wayne Gretzky as part-owner and head of hockey operations.
Court filings show Moyes was never keen to own the Coyotes and had no interest in hockey. He acquired control of the club in 2006 after falling out over a real estate development with former business partner Steve Ellman. Afterwards, Moyes tried to find a buyer for the Coyotes, and he chafed at the league's interference in his attempts. In 2008, Moyes told Gary Bettman and other league officials that he would stop funding the club, which was losing more than $40-million annually. The league agreed to provide emergency funding in return for Moyes turning over his voting control. The acrimony was made public in May 2009 when Bettman and Daly came close to selling the Coyotes to Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox, a move that would have seen Moyes receive almost nothing from the sale. On May 5, 2009, Moyes promptly put the Coyotes into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announced a plan to sell the club to Jim Balsillie. Moyes also filed a lawsuit against the NHL, alleging the league was an “illegal cartel.” Bettman was furious, arguing the league had been blindsided and that Moyes did not have the authority to put the club into bankruptcy protection.
Moyes was saddled with massive financial losses that dated to the time the former Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix. Unable to turn around the team's fiscal picture, he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 5, 2009. As part of the filing, he agreed in principle to sell the Coyotes to a group headed by Research in Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie, who intended to move the team to Hamilton, Ontario. The league responded by stripping Moyes of virtually all of his ownership authority, though he is still nominally the team's owner. The NHL argued that Moyes had no right to make the filing because numerous agreements he'd signed with the league in return for financial assistance specifically barred him from filing for bankruptcy. It also claims that Moyes effectively surrendered control of the team by signing the agreements. A bankruptcy judge has scheduled a hearing for May 19, 2009 to determine who actually controls the team.
In October 2009, Baum rejected the NHLs bid, as well as Balsillie's $242.5-million offer. The judge ruled that Balsillie's bid faced too many legal obstacles, however, he said the NHL could revise its bid to include concessions to Moyes and Gretzky. The NHL had originally taken the position that neither Moyes and Gretzky were legitimate creditors because they were owners. Under Chapter 11 proceedings, owners usually rank below other creditors and rarely receive any of the proceeds from asset sales. On November 2, 2009, Moyes officially sold the Coyotes to the NHL for $140 million.
|The Franchise||Franchise • Winnipeg Jets • NHL expansion draft • Seasons • Draft picks • GMs|
|Arenas||America West Arena • Gila River Arena|
|Head coaches||Hay • Schoenfeld • Francis • Bowness • Gretzky • Tippett|
|Rivals||Coyotes-Stars • Coyotes-Kings • Coyotes-Ducks • Coyotes-Avalanche|
|Affiliates||Tucson Roadrunners (AHL) • Rapid City Rush (ECHL)|