Former Preds suitor makes move to buy Coyotes

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at 3:14am
Staff reports
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Jim Balsillie attempted to buy and move the Nashville Predators to Canada in 2007.

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.

8 Comments on this post:

By: frank brown on 5/6/09 at 5:48

If he is successful in buying the "Coyotes" then this takes a lot of pressure off the local owners of the Predators to put a playoff team on the "ice". The core ice hockey fan in Nashville just likes ice hockey.I do not think he or she or they are obstinate in their desire for a playoff team.

By: BigPapa on 5/6/09 at 7:18

I figured this was a good thing, because the wolf's appetite would be satiated. It could be a bad thing for the local owners because Ballsillie could always be looked at as a viable Plan B if they decided to get out of the ice hockey business. Ballsillie showed that he has a lot of money and that he was more than willing to over pay for a team.

By: WayneJ on 5/6/09 at 7:43

If this is the shape Jerry Moyes has let his hockey team get into it makes you wonder how badly his trucking company is performing. He bought it back not that long ago after taking it public, after the stock nose-dived following the IPO. That company tried to serve Nashville for a while but got out when they realized they couldn't cut it here (Central Freight Lines out of Waco, TX - not to be confused with Central Transport on Couchville PIke). In any event Ballsillie hopefully can get his team and leave us alone!

By: Alphadog7 on 5/6/09 at 8:19

I thought the NHL concluded that this market was well served by its proximity to the Toronto and Buffalo. Adding a 3rd team in that area would take away from those other two fan bases, but on the other hand, New York area seems to have 3 teams...

The NHL has to protect its existing franchises, and Ballsillie is creating a lot of trouble for them.

By: Cowboy84 on 5/6/09 at 9:23

I'm having a hard time deciding who is more inept at running their business; the NHL or Moyes.

By: JeffF on 5/6/09 at 12:30

Ballsillie is a punk.

By: BigPapa on 5/6/09 at 1:06

The NHL has got to be hurting bad due to the recession. It's not like they were doing well before all of this. Now they're trying to market their product to business that are cutting necessary expenses, muchless something as extraneous as hockey.

By: frank brown on 5/6/09 at 3:48

Balsillie shows what loyalty and dedication to the sport of ice hockey is all about. I see him as no different from the many fanatics that crowd into the ice hockey arena subsidized by the Davidson County taxpayers. A true ice "hockeyian" in every sense of the word.