Report: Balsillie commissions survey to gauge interest Staff

6/4/2009 12:44:20 PM

If Jim Balsillie does manage to take ownership of an NHL franchise, one can only hope the team shows the same resiliency that the Canadian billionaire has displayed in trying to procure a club. 

In the latest chapter of Balsillie's ongoing attempts to buy and relocate the Phoenix Coyotes, the co-CEO of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion commissioned a survey of Hamilton and Southern Ontario residents to gauge public interest in a seventh Canadian franchise coming to the region. Not surprisingly, the results were strongly in favour of Balsillie's plight.

According to the Toronto Star, on average 94 percent of people believe bringing a team to Steeltown would have a positive effect on area businesses, while 88 percent feel it would be a good move to help boost the local economy. An overwhelming 83 percent are convinced the team would be better off in Hamilton than in it's current predicament in Phoenix, and 77 percent are behind Balsillie's bid to obtain the team.

The survey, which comprised 750 one-on-one phone interviews, took place from May11-14, directly after Balsillie made his intentions to buy the team, and forge himself a spot amongst NHL owners, known to the public.

Not one to accept defeat, Balsillie continues to add fuel to the steel fires in Hamilton, in hopes he can finally gain control of the Coyotes and bring the team north of the border.

Judge Redfield T. Baum has scheduled a June 9 hearing where both sides in the Coyotes dispute will make their arguments. Baum has stated he will make a prompt ruling on the issue of relocation.