It can’t be said that the National Hockey League owners haven’t been trying to impress the courts with a show of solidarity against Research-In-Motion’s Jim Balsillie and his bid on the Phoenix Coyotes franchise.
The latest to step up to the plate against Balsillie is Eugene Melnyk, the owner of the Ottawa Senators.
Melnyk released a lengthy statement Thursday that detailed his feelings with respect to Balsillie. He opposed the application to purchase the Coyotes and generally opposed Balsillie as a person, too. “I clearly believe the sport of hockey is better off without him,” Melnyk said in the statement.
The Melnyk blast came as the result of comments Balsillie made in regards to Melnyk and other owners. With his bid rejected by the Board of Governors on the grounds of “character” and “integrity,” Balsillie fired back mentioning other owners, including Melnyk, and an apparent lack of character. The move certainly didn’t (and shouldn’t) sit well, but it’s understandable that Balsillie would feel as though he were being ganged up on by the owners of the NHL.
“I will say in response publicly that his willingness to drag down anyone he can get his hands on along with him is discouraging and saddens me,” said Melnyk.
According to TSN, “Melnyk acknowledges in his statement that he’s paid fines to the Ontario Securities Commission for ‘administrative oversights’ but notes that it was a far cry from the sanctions that have been levied against Balsillie and his company RIM.”
Both men have had well-documented brushes with the Ontario Securities Commission, with Melnyk brought before a panel in June over charges of misleading investors and Balsillie settling allegations that he and his group had participated in the back-dating of stock options.
It’s hard to argue in favour of any particular National Hockey League owner on the basis of character or integrity, but this seems to be about more than that and is getting rapidly personal. Balsillie, through his actions, isn’t endearing himself to any owner in the NHL and will certainly have problems getting what he wants. He may be shooting himself in the foot here, which is unfortunate for hockey fans in Hamilton.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.