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.
Still, with friends like these, maybe Bettman will be swayed this time. Here are some excerpts:
From Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty , congratulating Balsillie on May 21 for receiving a Public Policy Forum Testimonial Award: “Take pride in knowing that you are playing a pivotal role in advancing the discourse that is so vital to the health of a democratic society.”
Fellow Premier, Brad Wall of Saskatchewan, also sent him a written note on April 4 to congratulate him on the honor.