Balsillie says another NHL team in Ontario is his dream Staff

5/9/2009 12:08:12 PM

Jim Balsillie said on Friday night he would be fulfilling a lifelong dream by bringing an NHL franchise to southern Ontario.

The BlackBerry co-CEO sat down with CTV's Lloyd Robertson and explained why the quest to bring an NHL team to his home province was so important to him.

"There's no question that this is a dream and to live a dream in a way that you can share it with others and share in your home (province), I can't think of anything more that I would ever want," Balsillie said.

On Tuesday, Phoenix Coyotes' owner Jerry Moyes placed the team into Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the BlackBerry billionaire grabbed headlines by making a $212.5 million (US) offer to purchase the club. The offer was conditional on Balsillie's ability to move the club to Ontario.

The National Hockey League took issue with Moyes' actions, contending he did not have the right to place the team into Chapter 11. The matter is currently before a bankruptcy court in Arizona.

The offer on the Coyotes is Balsillie's third attempt to buy an NHL team. There has been some talk of animosity between NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the potential owner, but Balsillie feels the fate of the Coyotes will be decided by other factors.

"This is not about personalities . . . this is really about the merits," Balsillie told Robertson on Friday. "In my experience these things don't get decided on personalities."

Balsillie contends there is a vast market in southern Ontario that could easily support another NHL team and that another strong market would be a good thing for the league.

"If somebody comes forward with an incredibly compelling plan that enhances franchise values, strengthen revenues, strengthens the fan base and constructively works with people and the league . . . why wouldn't people be interested in that," Balsillie asked.

In order to help prove his claims about the southern Ontario market, Balsillie started an online petition and he announced it passed the 100,000 fan mark in less than a week on Friday.