Jim Balsillie ((pictured, thanks GlobeSports file)) has officially asked the National Hockey League to immediately move the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton in conjunction with his purchase of the club.
In a detailed relocation application filed in an Arizona bankruptcy court, Balsillie outlined the long history of financial failure in Phoenix suggesting the club has lost more than $300-million (U.S.) since it move to the city from Winnipeg in 1996.
“Despite good efforts and intentions by many parties, the club is not, never has been and never will be financially viable, consistently supported by fans and a leading professional sports team in Arizona,” the application said.
By contrast, the application said Hamilton has a strong fan base, solid financial footing and a good venue that is about to be renovated. A second team in Southern Ontario would be good for the league, according to the application.
The filing said “it would clearly be in the best interest of the league and its member clubs to transfer the Phoenix Coyotes club from Glendale, Arizona to Hamilton, Ontario for the 2009-2010 season”.
In the filing, Balsillie cites financial statements and polling data to back up his arguments. He is also portrayed in the filing as a “visionary entrepreneur, influential CEO and competent business leader.”
His bid got another boost today when the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said it would not block his effort to buy the club. Antitrust authorities completed their review of Balsillie's proposal without taking any action to block it, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said in a notice.
Kevin McGran's article in the Toronto Star also details the team playing in the Western Conference.
"Therefore in summary, within this overall environment it would clearly be in the best interest of the League and its member clubs to transfer the Phoenix Coyotes Club from Glendale, Arizona to Hamilton, Ontario for the 2009/2010 season," concludes the cover letter to the league from Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes.
The league is likely to reject the application, setting in motion an anti-trust suit that will go hand-in-hand with the bankruptcy proceedings.Al Sweeney covers the new look Copps Coliseum for CHCH News in Hamilton