Research in Motion’s Co-Ceo Jim Balsillie has seen his dream of owning a hockey team and bringing it north to Canada take another hit from NHL commish Gary Bettman.
A year ago, Bettman got in Balsillie’s way when the BlackBerry business guru attempted to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins and move the team. Balsillie pulled out of negotiations to buy that team when it was made obvious that the league, or rather Bettman would not let the team move.
Last month, Balsillie entered into negotiations with the owners of the ailing Nashville Predators with the intent of moving the team to Hamilton, Ontario. Everyone seemed to be on board. Balsillie seemed to be overpaying for the franchise, which was fine for other owners he love inflated prices (a high tide raises all boats and all that). But then in rode Bettman again who is pushing Nashville owners to take a lesser bid from a group who want to move the team to that hockey hotbed of Kansas City. Bettman’s desire to keep teams in the US at any cost is driving the league into the ground. Or ice.
Then again, Bettman did outflank the union during the 2005 lockout and so busting some Balsillie is nothing for him. He might wonder his BlackBerry service starts cutting out from now on though.