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05-25-2007, 12:22 PM
Joe T Choker
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McKenzie: Balsillie has to sell himself

Bob McKenzie

5/24/2007 7:12:30 PM

Being an owner in the NHL is like being a member of an exclusive club. You not only need to learn the secret handshake but you must promise to abide by the league's rules.

And the golden rule is that the league, not individual owners, has final say on where franchises are located or re-located.

Now that Jim Balsillie has agreed to purchase the Nashville Predators for $220 million, he has roughly six weeks or less to convince the NHL that he is not Al Davis. Six weeks, by the way, is the usual time frame for the NHL to approve a new owner.

Regardless of who owns the Predators, they are likely to be on the move at some point.

We believe Balsillie would like to move them to southern Ontario, probably in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, close enough to the heavily populated golden horseshoe but just outside of the Toronto Maple Leafs' territorial rights.

But we also believe the league is not generally in favor of adding a team in southern Ontario.

So the critical question, maybe the only question anyone should be asking right now, is whether Jim Balsillie is satisfied to be an NHL owner or whether he must be the owner of an NHL team in southern Ontario.

If it's the former, there are 220 million reasons why the NHL will happily approve his purchase.

But if it's the latter, and Balsillie can't convince the NHL to change its mind about moving into southern Ontario, then Balsillie's bid to purchase Nashville won't get approved by the league.

Because as much as the NHL wants to see the predators sold for $220 million to a passionate hockey-loving billionaire, the league doesn't want an Al Davis.

I don't know why I decided to post this as a separate thread, but I thought it deserved its own thread

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