Jim Balsillie, the Research in Motion co-CEO who attempted to buy and move the Nashville Predators in 2007, has made a $212.5 million bid to buy the Phoenix Coyotes, according to a statement released Tuesday.
In the release, Balsillie says he has tabled an offer to purchase the team following the team's Tuesday bankruptcy filing. The offer is conditional on relocation to Southern Ontario.
Balsillie, who seems determined to add an NHL team in Canada, has generated Internet support for adding a seventh Canadian NHL team through www.makeitseven.ca. He also tried to buy and move the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2006.
"The current team ownership asked that I table an offer to purchase the Coyotes and significant discussions resulted in an offer that is in the best interests of the franchise, the NHL, and the great hockey fans of Canada and Southern Ontario," Balsille said in the release.
After learning of the purchase on Tuesday, the NHL's deputy commissioner Bill Daly stripped Coyotes' CEO Jerry Moyes of "all positions of authority to act for or on behalf of the Club."
"We have just become aware of today's Bankruptcy Court filing purportedly made on behalf of the Phoenix Coyotes," Daly said in a statement. "We are investigating the circumstances surrounding the petition, including the propriety of its filing… 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."
Daly said recently the league has "no intention to expand in the foreseeable future, and there is no desire to relocate any of our existing franchises," according to Canadian sports site tsn.ca.
Balsillie's bid for the Preds in 2007 and his threat to move the team to Hamilton, Ontario, which even gave fans the opportunity to put a down payment on season tickets for a team he did not yet own, spurred a local group to ultimately buy the local franchise.
The local ownership group ultimately secured a new leasing agreement with Metro Nashville that will keep the team playing at the Sommet Center for the foreseeable future.