Friday, July 17, 2009

Kerrzy's Notebook: Is Balsillie still in it?

In another peculiar twist in the Phoenix Coyotes ownership scandal, the NHL has sent a letter to its archrival, Jim Balsillie.

It looked as though the Canadian billionaire had struck out on yet another bid to buy a NHL club, but for the first time, the league seems to be acknowledging that they could lose that bankruptcy court case.

The Toronto Star says the NHL letter to Balsillie demands every detail of his business plan, should the Coyotes be allowed to move to Hamilton.

That sounds like an acknowledgement, doesn’t it?

How about this: the letter outlines 23 bits of information the league says it needs before it can approve Balsillie as an owner.

Before they can approve him as an owner? The NHL is actually floating around the idea that Jim Balsillie could own an NHL team? My, they’ve certainly come a long way on this one!

Balsillie’s legal team says the co-founder of Research in Motion is over halfway done compiling the info.

The Star has a list of a few of the league demands:

-Analysis concerning the existing state of Copps Coliseum.

-How long it will take before the team plays in a "fully renovated" Copps Coliseum.

-Where the team might play if renovations interfere with the schedule.

-Financial projections and the basis upon which the business plan for the team operating in Hamilton was built.

-Census and demographic reports for Hamilton.

The NHL hasn’t put a price tag on an expansion fee, but speculation has it in the range of $225-million to $265-million.

This latest move may just be the NHL trying to cover all of its bases, but it also signals a pretty big step for Balsillie in his quest to become an owner in the league.

For the first time since he tried to pull a fast one on Gary Bettman by buying the team and forcing his way into the club, the NHL is actually giving some weight to the idea of losing this fight.

By no means is this the end of it, but you know Jim Balsillie and the city of Hamilton are feeling good today!

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