The old saying is that the third time is the charm. Jim Balsillie has attempted to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators but failed both times. In his third attempt to buy an NHL franchise, the RIM CEO targeted the Phoenix Coyotes for a move to Hamilton. However, just like the last two tries, Jim was denied a chance to make it seven.
Judge Redfield T. Baum denied the sale based on the fact that Balsillie’s imposed deadline of June 29 is too soon to properly resolve the bankruptcy case to sell the team to Balsillie. The issues that would have needed to be resolved over the next two weeks would have included a relocation fee, the effects on the Toronto and Buffalo franchises which would be affected by a new team in Hamilton, and an auction on June 22nd.
This ruling is a massive legal victory for the NHL. Their position through all the proceedings was that Balsillie was trying to use bankruptcylaws to get around the NHL’s ability to dictate the ownership and location of its franchises. It should be noted that Judge Baum didn’t uphold the NHL’s ability to select its franchise locations. He instead just said that Balsillie would not be granted ownership because of the deadline he imposed.
The judge has yet to make a ruling on the Phoenix Coyotes Jerry Moyes’ eligibility to declare bankruptcy. As mentioned earlier, Moyes is planning on holding an auction for the team next week but is expected to receive bids at least $50 million less than Balsillie’s $212.5 million.
Now that the Make It Seven campaign has failed… again, maybe it’s time to Make It Five.