Flip-Flopping on Jim Balsille: NHL owner.

This post brought to you by: Jibblescribbits

Back from "vacation", by which I mean spending 12 hours a day unpacking, painting or fixing up my brand new home (good god buying a home is a lot of work), but thankfully the summer's almost over, kids are heading back to school and hockey is just around the corner to entertain and relax me. Thankfully opening day/Sakic night is right around the corner... Holy Hell it's still 51 days away. Son of a Bitch

God, I guess in the meantime I'll talk about the only thing really going on in the NHL right now, other than Double-Dime Patty in Chi-town, and that's the ongoing mess that is the Phoenix Coyotes, more specifically Jim Balisille's bid to buy them and move them to Hamilton, Ont.

So, Should the NHL ever grant Jim Balsille an NHL team? I'll be honest, I've flip-flopped on Jim Balsille: NHL Owner more times than I care to recall this summer. Balsille is an enigma because he clearly has some assets and a passion for the game, and that's never a bad thing, but the way he has handled himself has been less than appealing.

• Balsille clearly cares about his fictional team, and he'll clearly put his finances and efforts into putting a good team on the ice every year. The NHL needs owners who care about winning and their on-ice product, and Balsille would certainly be one of them.

• He is financially sound. There would be no worries about him going bankrupt, which has been an issue for some owners lately.

• He would be a fresh break from the stale and outdated good ol boys network.

And at first glance, this should be enough, and anything else could be overlooked. But Balsille's conduct has raised enough red flags that there are some substantial con's.


• Balsille's flagrent disregard of the NHL rules. Mavericky and rebel is all well and good, but there's a time and place for it. Trying to break into an exclusive "member's only club" isn't one of them. For God's sake he sued the league for not letting him move a team, before actually filing paperwork to buy a team! That's incredibly stupid.

• His complete disregard for other teams fans. Selling tickets for the Hamilton Predators before actually buying the team isn't really the worst thing in the world, but it's a pretty brazen act of hubris. More importantly it shows a complete disrespect and almost contempt for the fans of the Predators who have purchased tickets, or are thinking of purchasing tickets. His courtship of Phoenix has been equally demeaning to the Phoenix fans. It's admirable that he wants to take a hockey team to his town, and yes sometimes teams leave and it's heartbreaking. But there's a way to do it without completely slapping a fanbase in the face.

• His shadiness. He has tried to use bankruptcy loopholes to get in. The Aforementioned Hamilton ticket selling scenario wasn't just disrespectful, it was also an attempt to keep the Nashville ticket base low so it would be easier to move. And his attempt to buy the Nashville Predators has been filled with overt shadiness, as astutely chronicled by The Forechecker.

In fact it's that story, about Basille's attempt to destabalize a franchise and rip them from their city with no regard for the city, fans, or league he's trying to buy into, that has finally turned the tide for good on my opinion of Balsille. It shows his selfishness. I'd love to have an anti-establishment owner who's willing to stand up to the league and make some noise about some of their shadier practicess, because maverick and troublemakers can be a good thing. But anti-establishment is best when standing up to power to further a just cause, or repeal inane, outdated or unjust rules. Balsille isn't anti-establishment because he's trying to right a wrong, or point out NHL indiscretions (of which there are plenty). Balsille's anti-establishment because he wants to get his way, and doesn't give a crap about anyone or anything that stands in his way, including the 29 members of the club he's trying to enter.

I think Balsille is the type of owner a fan would want to have, because he would clearly go above and beyond to produce a winning team. But as a fan of the NHL I think the guy is bad for the league. He has shown no respect for other owners (like current Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leopold), fans, or anyone else in this entire process. He's bad news. I eagerly await an owner who will challenge Betteman and be the foil that is healthy to the growth of a league. But Balsille isn't a constructive foil, he's destructive and thinks he can buy his way into, or out of, anything.

The NHL is correct in keeping it's doors closed to Balsille.


  1. 1) Agree that Balsille attempt to circumvent the rules makes him less appealing, but the way its made Bettman squirm and allow information to become public that we would have never known about how the NHL operates is priceless
    2) We also find it a tad hypocritical for the NHL to bash Balsille when more than a handful of the board of governors have had past legal issues that would make them less than trustworthy 'business partners'. We suppose Boots Delbaggio was a good potential owner but Mr. Blackberry is not? Laughable!
    3) We didn't like though Balsille's attempt to have the judge force the NHL to say why they didn't want him as an owner. Came off as childish. We can't forsee any situation where the NHL would allow Balsille to own an NHL team even if they were forced to fold the Yotes!

  2. As always, great stuff. Couldn't agree more. I cited a good chunk of your material in my post. Hope you don't mind, if you do let me know and I'll remove it.