Thursday, October 01, 2009

Balsillie Denied

Sun Media's Steve Simmons reports on an Arizona bankruptcy court's ruling Wednesday, effectively denying Jim Balsillie's bid for the Phoenix Coyotes:

Billionaire Jim Balsillie is now 0-for-3 in his attempts to be a National Hockey League owner and Hamilton is oh-for-two decades in its attempts to house an NHL franchise.

And who knows now when any of that is going to change?

That was the sombre reality of the non-decision decision made by U.S. bankruptcy court Judge Redfield T. Baum, who rejected Balsillie's very public bid for the Phoenix Coyotes with pre-judice yesterday and also rejected the NHL's bid, leaving it a back door entrance should it choose to tie up the loose ends of its bid that the Judge was clearly uncomfortable with.

"In hockey parlance, the court is passing the puck to the NHL who can decide to take another shot at the sale net or it can pass off the puck," Baum wrote in his decision.

Baum gave the NHL some hope -- and at least control of this situation -- while at the same time striking Balsillie out of the game as a potential purchaser of the bankrupt Coyotes.

"This conclusion effectively is the end for the efforts of PSE (Balsillie's company), Balsillie, (Jerry) Moyes and the Coyotes to force a sale and relocation of the hockey team," Baum wrote in his 31-page ruling. In earlier years, Balsillie had attempted to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators, each time with the intent of moving them to Ontario.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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