Balsillie promises to play nice

Open letter commits to "working co-operatively" with other NHL owners

Jim Balsillie has stepped up his campaign for the hearts and minds of the National Hockey League’s governors with an open letter in today’s National Post, ostensibly aimed at fans but clearly intended to sway league owners. Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, has hinted darkly in the past that the RIM exec wouldn’t be a team player. He points to Balsillie’s repeated attempts to purchase teams and begin the process of moving them to Southern Ontario without first obtaining league approval. Balsillie addresses those concerns, among others, with an assurance: “My absolute commitment as an owner is to working co-operatively with the NHL and the league’s board of governors to elevate the NHL and raise the value of all its franchises.” Whether such promises are enough to win majority support on the NHL board for his purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes is anyone’s guess. But Balsillie’s reputation as a maverick will surely be an elephant in the room should the matter ever reach a vote.

National Post

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