Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Nashville Post,
NashvillePost.com has learned that a group of local businessmen, including some from the healthcare sector, is putting together an ownership proposal for the Nashville Predators. The bid would be offered only if current owner Craig Leipold’s deal with Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie falls apart.
Those familiar with the deal acknowledge that they have not presented a proposal to Leipold and are prohibited from doing so while Balsillie’s offer is on the table.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
As for Leipold, considering that the Predators have fewer than 9,000 season-ticket holders in Nashville, perhaps he was shocked into silence by the fact Hamilton sold almost as many tickets (7,200) in less than a day.
However, a fellow can’t help but wonder why Leipold isn’t making a lot of noise about the reticence of the league’s head office to move this sale along.
If the opposition to Balsillie’s bid is as broad as several NHL sources indicated this week, then Leipold has a lot to lose — somewhere in the range of $48-million (U.S.).
As part of his strategy to convince the NHL owners to accept him in terms they understand — greed — Balsillie agreed to pay Leipold upward of $238-million for the franchise, well above the going rate.
This instantly gave the league’s owners the prospect of seeing the value of their own franchises climb.
added 8:00am, from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
But behind the scenes at Elgin Theatre there was much melodrama in the ever-developing plot about a possible seventh Canadian franchise.
Commissioner Gary Bettman was said to be livid with Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie for flaunting the idea of moving the Nashville Predators to Hamilton during the Stanley Cup final, and putting the rights to purchase season tickets on sale the day the league was holding its gala to honour its best.
“They’re stealing the show,” said one NHL governor from the East.
“He’s going about it all wrong,” a Western Conference governor said of Balsillie’s moves.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Either Jim Balsillie relishes a good fight or he’s determined that the NHL can’t legally stop his bold move to bring a second franchise to southern Ontario.
The latter seems to be the smartest guess, and my goodness, this is becoming quite the spectacle, not to mention the biggest hockey story of the year.
Even before actually taking a seat among the tight circle of NHL owners, Balsillie has gone out of his way to identify himself as a flamboyant renegade.
added 8:03am, from the Nashville Post,
If the deal does fall apart and Leipold retains ownership, it doesn’t mean that everyone can sit back, wipe his or her brow and say, “Boy that was a close one. We’re safe now.” Leipold could move the team himself.
Although he has said he wants to keep the team here, he also said he can’t make it work in Nashville without substantial corporate sponsorship and ticket sales.
What’s more, even if the ticket sales increase to keep the team here, that may not be enough to stem losses, leaving Leipold and the NHL in quite the dilemma – a money-losing team with an owner trying avoid more losses stuck in a long-term lease.
from the CP via TSN,
Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, the co-CEO of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, had hoped to get an audience at the NHL’s board of governors meeting next week in New York to clear the air on his tentative purchase of the Nashville Predators and possible relocation to Hamilton, but it’s not going to happen.
Neither the relocation question or the actual vote on the ownership transfer will be on the board of governors’ agenda and Balsillie won’t be invited to the meeting, a source told The Canadian Press on Wednesday.
Another source said that the NHL considers the request to deal with relocation ‘‘premature’’ because there is a valid and binding lease in Nashville.
Balsillie’s camp doesn’t seem concerned.
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
But putting Hamilton out into the open signals open warfare which should lead to a battle royal between the Balsillie interests and Commissioner Gary Bettman who wants a territory rights fight about as much as he wants Bob Goodenow back as head of the Players Association….
This is one of the great tests of Bettman’s control in the history of his tenure with the NHL and there’s no sure sense of the outcome except that Balsillie and company have shown their hand and they aren’t going to back down.
more and other NHL topics…
What do Southern belle Kellie Pickler and Canadian hockey player Jordin Tootoo have in common? Says Pickler: “We’re each other’s biggest fans.”
The former American Idol contestant, 20, and the Nashville Predators right wing, 24, met after they bought condos in the same Nashville complex, where Tootoo spotted Pickler and asked for her phone number.
Pickler tells PEOPLE they were friends at first, but the relationship had turned romantic by spring.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Jim Balsillie’s representatives and lawyers for the City of Hamilton are expected to reach an agreement this morning that if he completes the purchase of the Nashville Predators and decides to move the team, it would be moved only to Hamilton.
A source familiar with the negotiations said the Hamilton city council hopes to announce the deal, which Balsillie and his representatives insist is a contingency plan, after its meeting tonight
via the Tennessean,
Jim Balsillie has submitted a formal application to buy the Predators.
Balsillie’s lawyer, Toronto-based attorney Richard Rodier, said the application was sent to the NHL late Monday.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed that the league received the application Monday night.
The application, which includes a purchase agreement, is a step that’s necessary before the NHL’s Board of Governors would review Balsillie’s bid to purchase the Predators from current owner Craig Leipold.
from the Tennessean,
But one item that needs to be completed before the Board of Governors would even consider Balsillie’s bid is a formal application for sale of the Predators.
As of late last week, that item — which includes a purchase agreement — had not been submitted to the league. It’s expected to be completed in the near future.
“The only significance (of it not yet being completed) is that it affects timing of the approval process,’’ NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said last week via e-mail.
Until Balsillie’s bid is approved, current owner Craig Leipold is still the man pulling the trigger on salary issues, which raises interesting questions.
Should Leipold spend liberally to try to re-sign some of his current free agents?
from the Hamilton Spectator,
Councillors say that Waterloo billionaire Jim Balsillie, who has an agreement to buy the NHL’s Nashville Predators for $220 million, wants them to approve his proposal to lease Copps Coliseum, Hamilton Place, and the Convention Centre at their meeting next Wednesday, June 13.
Six days later, Balsillie is slated to meet the NHL’s board of governor’s to seek approval for the sale of the Nashville team.
Balsillie, co-CEO of RIM, the company that makes the hand-held BlackBerry communications tool, is widely believed to be manoeuvering to relocate the money-losing Predators to Hamilton.
The word around city hall is Balsillie told Mayor Fred Eisenberger he believes he has a 50/50 chance of bringing the team to Copps, despite expected vetoes from NHL brass and compensation claims from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres for violating their territorial rights.
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