Saturday, September 12, 2009

Canadian Competition Bureau Has Eye on Coyotes Puck

As the hockey world awaits the reserved decision of Arizona Bankruptcy Judge Redfield T. Baum on Jim Balsillie's auction bid to buy the Phoenix Coyotes, the Toronto Star reports that the Canadian Competition Bureau may investigate and intervene if the Toronto Maple Leafs veto a subsequent relocation of the NHL franchise to Hamilton:

The Canadian Competition Bureau is keeping an eagle eye on Jim Balsillie's fight to buy the Phoenix Coyotes, and is ready to swoop in if the Maple Leafs veto the franchise's move to Hamilton.

..."We are seized by the matter, and we are monitoring it very closely," Richard Taylor, the deputy commissioner of competition, civil matters, told the Star yesterday.

"We are concerned," Taylor said. "We are looking at all the paperwork that's coming out of the proceedings and we will take action if we believe that the veto that Toronto thinks they have is exercised and blocks a team. The exercise of the veto that effectively blocked a team from moving would raise concerns for us and would be something we would investigate."

...Taylor would not go so far as to say the Competition Bureau would definitely investigate the Coyotes case.

"We have to be presented with an anti-competitive act, not the possibility of an anti-competitive act," he said.

"We can't go off pre-emptively and stop something that hasn't happened yet just because it may happen, just because the Leafs say they have a veto, and just because many people believe they will exercise it. We have said and continue to say that if a veto is exercised that effectively blocks a team coming into another team's territory, we will look at it and that includes using all our powers to investigate it and determine whether it violates our act."

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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