Gary Bettman and his cohorts are wondering when Jim Balsille will take the hint and go away. "He's undesirable. He's of ill repute. We don't want his type of character owning an NHL team." One NHL management insider, Chuck U Farley, is quoted as saying, "How many billionaire Italian Canadians do you know who aren't tied to the mafia? We don't want people like that associated with the NHL," he said.
When it was pointed out that Jim Balsille is the billionaire owner of a wildly successful telecommunications company, Mr Farley said, "The NHL owners are well experienced in judging character, I'm sure time will prove them right."
But Mr Bettman contradicts the statement that the NHL has a problem with Balsille himself, it's about the NHL's rights, he says, "This is not about whether or not we want a franchise in southern Ontario, and whether or not Mr. Balsillie would make a suitable owner," explained Bettman. "This is about the League rules and the enforceability of our rules, whether or not Mr. Moyes (owner of the Phoenix Coyotes) even has the authority to file a bankruptcy petition is something we're going to get into.”
We asked acclaimed hockey and business lawyer, Jaques Strap, about the definition of bankruptcy and his response was, "Generally, if you're out of money, losing millions of dollars, and the banks are after you for debt that keeps growing, then yes, you can declare bankrupcy and start the court process."
When queried further and asked for an example, Jaques said, "Look at it this way. If you made some incredibly terrible financial decisions, such as borrow a lot of money to buy Nortel stock, or invest in a hockey team in the desert, then when you run out of money and the creditors and other stakeholders are threatening to cut your balls off, then you can declare bankruptcy."
"So why wouldn't Mr. Moyes be able to declare bankrupcy, as Mr. Bettman challenges in the courts?" we asked him.
"I really don't know, at the end of the day, you can't get blood from a stone, especially a sun drenched Arizona stone."
We asked hockey insider Chuck U Farley, "Why is Balsille deemed by the NHL to be of poor character, but people like William Del Biaggio and Peter Pocklington owned NHL franchises?"
"Del Biaggio and Peter Pocklington are good people," Farley said. "Pocklington ran for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. I'd wager he's as reputable as Stephen Harper himself. And Del Biaggio, well, he's innocent until proven guilty?"
"But he was found guilty?"
"Not by the NHL he wasn't, and that's what counts!"
When queried further, and it was pointed out that Hamilton would be a market guaranteed to make money, Mr. Farley refused to comment. When we went on to point out that 12 NHL teams lost money last year, and another eight teams barely turned profits, some of which had very successful seasons with deep playoff runs, Chuck Farley responded by saying, "Shut up stupid head, you don't know nuthin!"
We managed to calm Mr Farley down and asked him why the NHL won't just let the sale go through and move a struggling team to a viable market?
"A lot of reasons."
When queried further, he said, "Cuz he's a bad man. Cuz Hamilton sucks. Cuz, Cuz, Cuz..."
And with that, he convinced us. So in conculsion, just say no to the Hamilton Blackberries. Keep hockey in Phoenix!