Jim Balsillie is nothing if not persistent when it comes to his desire to take the Phoenix Coyotes franchise and move them to Hamilton. Today Balsillie submitted an amended proposal to buy the Coyotes at a price tag of $212.5 million with a move to Hamilton in the cards whether the league likes it or not.
The deal essentially negates the idea of the NHL’s consent in any move, a right that the league will doubtlessly claim to maintain regardless of Balsillie’s bid. The NHL will stand behind their own bylaws and behind the Board of Governors decision to not allow the Balsillie bid any playing time, so this move could be merely symbolic in nature.
Nevertheless, it does illustrate a rightly frustrated Balsillie attempting to remain in the arena despite the NHL’s insistence that he doesn’t belong.
The document, passed to the courts Monday, includes a clause that allows Balsillie to walk away from any deal after the 14th of September. Obviously the RIM co-CEO is getting a little tired of the National Hockey League’s posturing and, let’s be frank, bullying, so he is attempting to expedite the process with another deadline. While this is probably not a smart move, it is again reflective of how frustrating this entire scenario is.
Despite the fact that the franchise lost $30 million in each of the last three seasons, the NHL is insistent on keeping the Coyotes in Phoenix. With better management and a better on-ice product, the league believes that a team can be successful there.
In the case of Balsillie’s latest filing, his purchase agreement requires either NHL approval (not going to happen) or a court order that would supersede the NHL’s Board of Governors and let him assume ownership anyway. This is what the NHL is referring to as a “back door approach.” The agreement also forces the league to come up with a relocation fee whether they like it or not.
The city of Glendale has called the entire Balsillie situation a “scheme,” contending that he hatched it together with Jerry Moyes over the course of several months. In a 32-page document filed by the city Monday, officials argued that Balsillie and Moyes, along with Richard Rodier, attempted to circumvent applicable law an attempt to snag the franchise.
The documents that prove the allegations remain under seal, although the city asked for an emergency motion last week to unseal them.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.