NHL

A chronological look at Balsillie's bid to buy the Coyotes

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The Canadian Press
6/15/2009 9:01:32 PM
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A chronological look at Jim Balsillie's quest to buy the Phoenix Coyotes:

May 5 -- The Phoenix Coyotes file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Jim Balsillie, the co-CEO of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, makes a US$212.5-million offer to buy the Coyotes, conditional on moving the NHL club to Southern Ontario. He goes public with his bid to bring a seventh NHL franchise in Canada by asking the public to sign onto his website www.makeitseven.ca.

May 7 -- The NHL says it has controlled the Coyotes since November 2008, and that majority owner Jerry Moyes wasn't authorized to place the team into bankruptcy. The league says discussions are underway with a possible ownership group that includes Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls.

May 11 -- In a Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey, 63 per cent of those polled thought another NHL team could thrive in Canada, but only one in three said it was likely Balsillie's bid to buy the Coyotes and move them would be successful.

May 13 -- NHL calls Balsillie's attempt to buy and move the Coyotes "a sham," and contends Moyes can't complete a sale conditional on a move to southern Ontario because that territory belongs to the league. Also, Hamilton city council unanimously approves a lease deal giving Balsillie until October to bring the team to Copps Coliseum.

May 14 -- Balsillie fires back at the NHL saying it doesn't matter who controls the Coyotes, the bankrupt team has an obligation to its creditors. Hamilton New Democrat Paul Miller wears a "Hockey Night in Hamilton" T-shirt in the Ontario legislature.

May 15 -- Balsillie announces Labatt Breweries and Home Hardware are on board as corporate sponsors in his bid to bring the Coyotes to southern Ontario.

May 18 -- The NHL gets support from the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball as the three leagues file documents asking the courts to respect the NHL's authority regarding ownership transfer and relocation, as the court case could set a legal precedent for how those leagues operate.

May 19 -- U.S. bankruptcy judge Redfield T. Baum orders the NHL and Moyes into mediation to determine who is in charge of the team. He tells both parties to return to court May 27 to give an update and sets a formal hearing date of June 22.

May 20 -- A group headed by Coyotes minority partner John Breslow expresses interest in submitting a bid for the team to keep it in Phoenix after filing a statement in U.S. bankruptcy court in support of the NHL's bid to block the sale of the Coyotes.

May 21 -- U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York send a letter to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stating their opposition to moving the Phoenix Coyotes to southern Ontario because of the potential "crippling" effect on the Buffalo Sabres.

May 25 -- Balsillie applies to NHL's board of governors for transfer of Coyotes ownership to him.

May 26 -- Balsillie says his offer to buy the Coyotes expires June 30. He wants to move the club to Hamilton for the 2009-10 season.

May 27 -- Judge calls the relocation issue "the 10,000-pound elephant in the room," and moves up the hearing originally scheduled for June 22 to June 9.

May 29 -- Balsillie reveals a $150-million renovation plan for Copps Coliseum. While he's willing to cover the cost of short-term renovations, he says the City of Hamilton can request infrastructure funds from the federal and provincial governments.

May 30 -- Bettman says his opposition to Balsillie's bid to move the Coyotes to Hamilton "isn't personal." He says he believes the Coyotes can still be financially viable in Arizona.

June 1 -- Balsillie applies to the NHL to relocate Coyotes to Hamilton and also files the application in court. The document is authored by former CFL commissioner Tom Wright.

June 5 -- The NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA warn in a court document that a ruling against the NHL in its attempt to block the sale and move of the Coyotes would set a dangerous precedent.

June 6 -- Bettman says in a court filing that the owners of the CFL's Toronto Argonauts are among four potential Coyotes buyers that have expressed an interest in purchasing the team and keeping it in Phoenix.

June 9 -- Baum says during a riveting and often combative hearing that he believes the NHL has a right to demand payment for its territorial rights in Hamilton and suggests he might force the league to establish a price. A Balsillie lawyer suggests that price could be as high as C$100 million.

June 15 -- Baum rejects Balsillie's attempt to bring the Coyotes to Hamilton, saying in a 22-page ruling that there wasn't enough time to resolve all the various issues before the sale was due to close June 29.

June 16 -- Balsillie representatives say during news conference that judge's ruling is just the latest step in the process and the Canadian billionaire will continue his quest to bring an NHL team to Hamilton.

Jim Balsillie (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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