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May 13, 2009
Balsillie to Hamilton: Want a team? Cough up $120m
So much for the hometown discount: Would-be Phoenix Coyotes owner Jim Balsillie announced that he'd seek $120 million in public funding for renovations to Copps Coliseum as part of any deal to move the Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario. Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger said he doesn't consider the demand "out of line" and that he's "cautiously" optimistic about cutting a deal with Balsillie — but then, since Balsillie would apparently be asking the province of Ontario and the Canadian federal government for the funds, it's no skin off his nose. Prime Minister Stephen Harper may want to take back his endorsement of relocating the Coyotes, though.
Meanwhile, Coyotes head coach and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky threw his backing behind Jerry Reinsdorf's $130 million bid to buy the team and keep it in Arizona — which is far less than Balsillie's $212 million offer. Unless the bankruptcy court judge overseeing the Coyotes' Chapter 11 filing is a big Gretzky fan, it looks like we're headed for a major international antitrust case here.