from Summit Notebook:

NHL commish takes dim view of Canadian billionaire Balsillie

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman all but ruled out the prospect for Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie one day owning a team in the hockey league.

Balsillie, the co-CEO of BlackBerry wireless device maker Research in Motion, failed in a bid to move the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario in September when a U.S. judge blocked the attempt.

It wasn't the first time Balsillie had tried and failed to buy a National Hockey League franchise and move it to Canada, attempts that have not sat well with the NHL. (Other efforts involved the Nashville Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins).

When Reuters asked Bettman if Balsillie might ever own an NHL team, Bettman pointed out that the NHL owners had already said in a vote that they were not comfortable with the Canadian billionaire being involved with the league. And then he was even more blunt.
"There is a lot of water under this bridge, and I'm not prepared to say that the bridge hasn't been washed out," Bettman said.

A representative for Balsillie did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment on Bettman's statement.

from DealZone:

Desert Hockey

James Balsillie, the co-CEO of Research-in-Motion, can't seem to catch a break. Having failed in previous efforts to buy NHL teams in Pittsburgh and Nashville and move them to Hamilton, Ontario, he's now been shut out in his bid to buy the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes. Arizona bankruptcy Judge Redfield Baum ruled late on Monday that a June 29 deadline set by Balsillie did not allow enough time to settle the complex case. It's a shame things were so rushed. The decision could yet be a game changer for struggling sports franchises.

Balsillie (pictured above enjoying the game from the ice) and the owner of the Coyotes, trucking magnate Jerry Moyes, offered to put together a $212.5 million deal in May, when the franchise filed for bankruptcy protection, to move the team to Hamilton, about 200 miles northwest of Buffalo, N.Y. But NHL says the franchise is contractually obligated to stay in Phoenix.

Being a judge, Baum took the liberty to say both sides are wrong. He rejected Moyes' attorneys' argument that antitrust law allowed the sale and relocation of the Coyotes without NHL approval, and he dismissed concerns of other sports leagues that allowing the Coyotes to relocate would encourage other financially struggling teams to use bankruptcy court to get around league rules.

from DealZone:

BlackBerry maker’s CEO sends letters of reference to sway NHL

balsillieJim Balsillie, the co-CEO of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion desperately wants a National Hockey League franchise and relocate it to his native Southern Ontario.

Balsillie has tried twice in recent years to buy a hockey team, only to be blocked by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who this week assured people there was nothing personal between him and Balsillie. Balsillie is currently locked in a court battle with the NHL in his efforts to move the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton.

On Monday, Balsillie sent in his application to the NHL explaining why the Phoenix Coyotes should move to Hamilton, Ontario and why he'd make a good owner. Late Tuesday, he supplemented that with 22 letters of recommendation from a variety of mostly Canadian VIPs.