Coyotes receive monetary assistance

Updated: April 30, 2009, 11:11 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

PHOENIX -- The NHL has loaned an unknown amount of money to the Phoenix Coyotes for payroll and rent payments.

The Arizona Republic reported Wednesday that if the team fails to pay its debt, the league can take it over, according to financial records filed with Maricopa County Recorder's Office.

The day after the team agreed to loan terms Feb. 24 with the NHL, it paid Glendale nearly $351,000 in overdue arena rent payments.

The loan terms give the NHL more control over the future of the struggling Coyotes, including the possible relocation of the team.

Glendale city manager Ed Beasley told the Republic on Thursday, however, that the NHL already is running the franchise, but team president Doug Moss refuted that claim.

"The NHL is in charge of the team right now," Beasley said, according to Thursday's report. "We have assurances from the NHL the money will be paid. ... We are sitting down with the NHL and working confidentially with them, and the city expects to be paid in full."

Moss said that was not true, the newspaper reported.

"We are not reporting to the league," Moss said, according to the report. "We report to [owner] Jerry Moyes. I'm dealing with things in my area, the business side, and Donnie [GM Don Maloney] is dealing with the hockey side. ... It's business as usual."

The NHL and Moyes declined to comment.

Beset by annual losses reported at $30 million, Moyes is trying to sell all or part of the team.

The Coyotes, who have laid off 18 employees this year, have the league's third-worst average home attendance of just 14,875. They also have a payroll of $43 million: the NHL minimum is about $43 million, with the cap at just less than $57 million.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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