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Noll: Coyotes to Hamilton in 2010

The focus of this story is on Roger Noll's view of the Phoenix Coyotes bankruptcy, and the likelihood that Jim Balsillie's offer to purchase the team and move it to Hamilton, CA will emerge as the final outcome. It's a discussion worth reading in its entirety. Here's a snip:

All parties in the Coyotes court challenge are waiting for a ruling from Judge Redfield T. Baum on a process for determining what additional amounts Balsillie may be expected to face on top of his $212.5-million purchase fee in relocation/indemnification costs. Noll believes the figure could be $60 million, but there has been some suggestions it could be as much as $400 million, which would include compensation for the Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres.

Baum has indicated he expects the relocation fee to be "reasonable and fair."

Noll believes that Balsillie's lucrative offer will be the only one on the table on June 22 when the bankruptcy court is set to determine who the bankrupt franchise should be sold to. The NHL has stated there are four other interested groups, including the Toronto Argonaut owners, who are considering making bids that would keep the team in Phoenix.

"If (Balsillie) really is the only bidder, he is going to get the team. And it's going to be in Hamilton," Noll said.

The notion of a $400m relocation fee -- in the NHL? in this economic environment? -- strikes me as patently ludicrous, but who knows, the NHL could have strong contractual language protecting quasi-exclusive territories. Does anyone know where the $400m figure comes from?