Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Will Balsillie's persistence pay off this time?

Amazing what can happen in 24 hours. As far as I can tell, the latest move by Balsillie is his best one yet. In short, Bettman was on his way to discuss with owner of the Phoenix Coyotes (Jerry Moyes) potential buyers for his franchise. On the way there, Bettman was told that the Coyotes filed for bankruptcy protection, and that Balsillie is the one financing the team while it goes through this process. Oh, and Balsillie offered $212.5 million for the team. The beauty of this move is that any sales decision is now up to the courts, and they are obligated to award the sale to the highest bidder. Considering the Predators are worth closer to $100 million, who in the world would want to get into a bidding war Balsillie?

Bettman's response--assume control of the Coyotes by relieving the owner of his duties, and challenging Moyes' capacity to file for bankruptcy in the first place. 

Balsillie's plan of attack included creating a website to quantify support for bringing a team to Ontario. I hope this means to Hamilton. From my position, I only support this move if it means Hamilton gets the NHL team. Assuming this is the case, go ahead and sign up at

The list of people who publicly support Balsillie's move are Dalton McGuinty (Ontario's Premier), Fred Eisenberger (Hamilton's Mayor), Stephen Harper (Canada's Prime Minister), Paul Kelly (NHL Players Association President). I am sure the list will grow over the next few days.

Apparently, Balsillie is getting Gretzky on board by offering to name the arena after Gretzky's dad, and ensuring he will make millions from this deal. Not a bad move either.

So, am I getting excited about this? Not yet, but I will enjoy the process.

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