Kukla's Korner

Balsillie’s Team Answers

Yesterday, I asked readers to let me know what questions they’d like to ask the spokesman for Jim Balsillie’s Make It Seven team. Here’s what he had to say.

A few notes:

-In some cases, I cleaned up the wording of the question, either to consolidate things or combine somewhat related questions I got via comments and email.
-Bill Walker, the guy answering these questions, noted that there were some legal-related questions that they couldn’t publicly answer.
-When I sent the questions over, I told them that I understood that this was a PR effort but please try to be as honest as possible. Still, I think in situations like this, all you’re going to get is a certain level of spin, no matter which side you talk to.

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Doesn’t a move to Southern Ontario essentially take away market share from the Buffalo Sabres? The Maple Leafs will always have their corporate money but have their been any studies as to the economic impacts on the Sabres as they draw a lot of fans from Southern Ontario?

We have said before, and we fully believe, that Southern Ontario is the best under-served hockey market in North America. We’re not the only people that think so - even Bill Daly, NHL deputy commissioner, said on the Fan 590 today that he thinks the region can support another team and we clearly agree.

In 2003, there was reported interest in Mr. Balsillie purchasing the Ottawa Senators. As the PR push for the Coyotes purchase is about “Making it Seven”, a Senators purchase obviously would not have accomplished that. Is this really about “Making it Seven” or is that just a public face for Mr. Balsillie’s quest for a team in his location? And how is this different if, hypothetically, the Maloof brothers made the same sort of conditional purchase except it was for Las Vegas?

Right now, we are excited and focused on making the Phoenix Coyotes Canada’s seventh franchise. We believe that this deal is the best for the fans, the best for the league and the best for the team. We’re not looking backward and we’re not looking forward, but we are focusing on what is going on right now.

If the courts rule in favor of Mr. Balsillie, how will he react if the NHL Board of Governors does not approve a sale or a move? Why make a behind-the-scenes deal with Mr. Moyes if the feasibility of the move is conditional based on Board of Governors approval?

We don’t want to make predictions at this point in the process. We want to respect the legal process that the team is going through and we respect the process that the league is going through. All we ask is that people look at this as a smart and logical business decision from a smart and logical businessman.

Why didn’t Mr. Balsillie simply express his desire to own the team first before creating a conditional movement clause that allows him to move the team without the NHL’s blessing? In a league where Board of Governor approval is required for so many things, isn’t this essentially trying to sidestep rules and policies?

On Tuesday, the Phoenix Coyotes ownership asked Mr. Balsillie provide bridge financing to help the team through bankruptcy and to make an offer to buy the team. As a passionate hockey fan, he agreed to do this but wanted to ensure he was able to bring the team to Southern Ontario - hence the condition inserted into the agreement.

For the fans that are excited about this, have there been any thoughts about team name/logo/color scheme should this come to pass?

We’ve been overwhelmed with the response from fans and they are the most important people in this whole process. They are the reason we are trying to bring this team to Southern Ontario and it’s incredibly exciting to see them get behind the concept to Make It Seven. More than 100,000 fans have signed up to www.MakeItSeven.ca since Tuesday evening and we are working hard to satiate their appetite for news and updates.

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As you can see, not a lot of info other than the typical PR stuff. Still, they were very prompt and professional in their response, which is always something worth appreciating.

Filed in: | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: jim+balsillie, phoenix+coyotes

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