The Phoenix Coyotes have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie has put in a $212.5 million offer for the team, which is contingent on the team being moved to Southern Ontario.
You can see the dream. Bringing more of Canadaâ€™s sport back home. Shane Doan a captain in Canada. Wayne Gretzky coaching a team that likely wonâ€™t ever be aware that purses have strings, rather than one strung up by them, likely to be just a short drive from his hometown of Brantford, Ontario. [Kukla’s Korner]
However (before everyone gets too excited) a few more steps and processes need to play out including the acceptance of the Chapter 11 filing and purchase plan by a judge, and then there will be an auction. “…Overbidders must exceed Balsillie’s bid by at least $5 million and not have conditional franchising.” – CBC
I have a few questions about the whole deal and would love to know what people think as well. The Phoenix Coyotes were originally a relocation and renaming of the Winnipeg Jets — should Winnipeg get “first dibs” on something like this? Is there an interested buyer and/or is the city interested?
Also, I’m not sure how I feel about three hockey teams in Ontario. Sure, they have a large population and the most Tim Hortons per capita but I know my husband for one would love to see the midwest get another team or at least one of the Dakotas. Given that the Quad Cities AHL team is going to be moving out to Abbotsford, I’m also wondering if the team would have to be further North/West from that area for that idea to succeed. Many are also playing with the idea of franchise in the Pacific Northwest, which is currently a hotbed of WHL team talents.
Balsillie is truly sweetening the deal for the Coyotes though, even stating that if he’s able to move the team then he would build an arena and name it in Walter Gretzky’s honor – CTV.
If anything, Balsillieâ€™s public statements and endeavours regarding his pursuit of franchises are an aspect of ownership that the League should be courting, the passionate, involved, dedicated owner, who seeks to continually put the best product on the ice for the fans, and does not look at the team as mere numbers and figures and profits to be maximized. That this potential franchise could soon find itself neighbour to the Leafs, with the oft-dehumanized ownership of the Ontario Teacherâ€™s Pension Plan, is no small irony. [Kukla’s Korner]
I get the sense (at least from Twitter) that many Canadians in general are excited about another team potentially coming back to our country and with MakeitSeven they’ve created an online petition to bring the team back to this side of the border. Ultimately, it comes down to the league and the buyer (and the courts in this case).