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Balsillie Makes A Baffling, Conditional Offer for the Coyotes....Updated

May 5, 2009, 9:52 PM ET [ Comments]
Eklund
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Another crazy circumstance playing out in the NHL tonight..

NOTE: Jim Balsillie has admitted that he is indeed the one behind the following scenario..so I have removed my questions as to if he was or was not and I am now left with "why in the world would he do everything to ensure that he will never get approval to buy an NHL franchise EVER again?"

I think Jim would be one of the best and most passionate owners the NHL has ever known...but he has refused to function within the rules of their society...and I fear it will cost him.

makeitseven.ca sent out an email to me (and I am guessing several others) that stated the following...

Apologies for the “cold call” but, as an influential hockey blogger, we wanted to ensure you were one of the first to know that the Phoenix Coyotes have filed for bankruptcy and that Jim Balsillie (Canadian founder of R.I.M, makers of the BlackBerry) has made an offer to purchase the team for $212.5m (U.S.), conditional on the team’s relocation to Southern Ontario, to make it the seventh Canadian hockey franchise.

Full details of the story are on CNW but if you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to let me know. I am working with Jim Balsillie’s team and can give you clarification on any rumours you may have heard or provide more breaking news for you and your readers as the story progresses.

We have also set up a Web site where Canadian hockey fans can sign up for updates – www.makeitseven.ca – but we can continue to send you advance information before
the email database gets it. If you’d rather not receive these updates, please just let me know.

When you got to Makeitseven.ca you are greeted by the following...

"It's an exciting time for professional hockey in Southern Ontario and it has nothing to do with the playoffs. Jim Balsillie has made an offer to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes and relocate them to Southern Ontario. Jim stated, "I am excited to move closer to bringing an NHL franchise to what I believe is one of the best un-served hockey markets in the world". Read the full release statement here.

We are building an exciting online community to help promote bringing Canada its seventh franchise. Sign up here for updates and alerts as we build this site and show the hockey world that we are ready!

Together, we can make it seven!"


and then you are asked to include your email and postal code...

++++++

Ok, so now go to the full statement which reads as following...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Balsillie Makes Offer
To Purchase Phoenix Coyotes

Conditional on Team in Southern Ontario

TORONTO (May 5, 2009) – Jim Balsillie tabled an offer today to purchase the Phoenix
Coyotes, following the team’s bankruptcy filing. The offer to purchase the team for
$212.5 million (U.S.) is conditional on relocation to Southern Ontario, to become the
seventh NHL franchise in Canada.

“The current team ownership asked that I table an offer to purchase the Coyotes and
significant discussions resulted in an offer that is in the best interests of the franchise,
the NHL, and the great hockey fans of Canada and Southern Ontario,” Mr. Balsillie said.

“I am excited to move closer to bringing an NHL franchise to what I believe is one of the
best un-served hockey markets in the world, Southern Ontario. A market with devoted
hockey fans, a rich hockey history, a growing and diversified economy and a population
of more than 7 million people,” he said.

At the request of the Coyotes franchise owner, Mr. Balsillie has also agreed to post
debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing of $17 million (U.S.). Debtor in possession
financing is bridge financing provided when a company is in an insolvency proceeding
which allows the company to continue to operate through the proceeding in advance of a
restructuring or sale.

Prior to a final decision being reached on the proposed sale, he called for Canadian fans
who want to see a seventh NHL franchise in Canada to make their voices heard.

“It’s particularly important for Canadian fans to demonstrate the kind of hockey market
we have and the passion we share for this game. We want those Canadian voices who
want a seventh NHL team in Canada to be heard throughout the North American NHL
market. Canadian fans can log on to www.makeitseven.ca to add their voices to the call
for an NHL team in Southern Ontario” Mr. Balsillie said.

+++++++++++

Pretty Convincing Right?

....so I called my contacts with Balsillie. NADA.
and I called my contacts with the NHL. NADA...worst than NADA. I was greeted with "How can an NHL team that is part of a league file for Bankrupcy without letting us know?"

Then other questions come out....

The Press Release is NOT from Jim Balsillie. NOR is it signed by him. NOR does it say he made an offer really because a conditional offer is NOT an offer. What this is another group quoting Jim saying " hey I am willing to pay 212 million for the team if you will move them."

And just one of the reasons I am baffled that Jim is behind this is because he knows better. Jim already tried the "circumvent the NHL route" when he sold tickets in Hamilton and this led the NHL Board of Governors to be irate with him to the point where many believe some key folks would have to die for Jim to get a team.

Also there is this little fact..."What Bankruptcy Court would allow an Owner to file for Bankruptcy with a $212 Million offer out there?"

In the release Jim says “The current team ownership asked that I table an offer to purchase the Coyotes and significant discussions resulted in an offer that is in the best interests of the franchise, the NHL, and the great hockey fans of Canada and Southern Ontario."

It makes no sense folks.

And here is another little unknown fact that I uncovered a while ago and just now was given the OK to go "on the record" with it.

One of the main reasons the Coyotes haven't been sold is because in order to move the team the new ownership would HAVE to pay Scottsdale over 400 MILLION DOLLARS. That is the deal they had with the team when they built the building for them.

Now the city may be willing to negotiate that number down, but that is no small feat. Imagine what the people of Arizona who paid for this building would say?

Finally, Bill Daly came out with the following statement...moments ago...

"We have just become aware of today's Bankruptcy Court filing purportedly made on behalf of the Phoenix Coyotes. We are investigating the circumstances surrounding the petition, including the propriety of its filing. We have removed Jerry Moyes from all positions of authority to act for or on behalf of the Club. The League will appear and proceed before the Bankruptcy Court in the best interests of all of the Club's constituencies, including its fans in Arizona and the League's 29 other Member Clubs."

"Bankruptcy Court filing purportedly made on behalf of the Phoenix Coyotes."

So the NHL isn't even sure they are buying it. If the NHL has the power to remove THE OWNER Jerry Moyes from all positions of authority to act for or on behalf of the Club that probably means that the rumors are true and the NHL is essentially keeping the Coyotes afloat and has been for some time..Moyes may not even have the authorite anymore to file for Bancruptcy

So what do you think is really happening here?

I WANT AND BELIEVE THE BEST THING FOR THE NHL WOULD BE TO GIVE JIM A TEAM!

To me since these actions clearly will not land him a team the in a normal way Jim is just continuing on his path to make a legal case that would force the NHL to give him a team in some sort of settlement. Those are high risk stakes for a guy that would in all likelihood have a team if he just respected the systems in place...

But seriously, I don't know what is happening at this point...Stay tuned.



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