[NHL] Canadian buys the Pittsburgh Penguins

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Owner of RIM (Research In Motion) aka Blackberry has signed a letter of intent to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins for the sum of $110 million...

not much more info on this yet

Edited by Fred Derf
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Jim Balsillie, co-chief executive officer of Canada's Research in Motion Ltd., is the new owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Canadian buys NHL's Penguins

Oct. 5, 2006. 02:35 PM


PITTSBURGH ? Jim Balsillie, co-chief executive officer of Canada's Research in Motion Ltd. (TSX: RIM), the maker of the Blackberry, has signed an agreement to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Terms haven?t officially been released but Balsillie is believed to be spending $175-million (U.S.) for the NHL club.

Balsillie is expected to meet with the Pittsburgh media Thursday night at Mellon Arena, where the Penguins are scheduled to face the Philadelphia Flyers in their season opener.

The deal still needs to be approved by the NHL board of governors, a process which is expected to be completed this fall.

The Penguins, two-time Stanley Cup champions in the 1990s, were purchased in federal bankruptcy court in 1999 by a group that was led by Hall of Fame Penguins forward Mario Lemieux. Lemieux retired as a player last season and later put the team up for sale.

"Jim is a tremendous businessman and a passionate hockey fan, and I think he is going to be a great owner for the Pittsburgh Penguins," Lemieux said in a statement. &qI know his hope is to get a new arena deal and keep the team here in Pittsburgh for the long-term."

Rumours have swirled about Balsillie perhaps moving the team to Hamilton, which is close to his home and RIM's head office in Waterloo, Ont., but he indicated Thursday that he plans to keep the team in Pittsburgh.

"Pittsburgh has shown itself to be an outstanding hockey market, and the team has an incredible tradition of success and fan support," he said in a statement. "With young stars such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, we all know the Penguins have a very bright future on the ice. I look forward to owning this team for a long time in Pittsburgh."

The NHL does not want the Penguins to move.

"We are committed to keeping the Penguins in Pittsburgh, provided the team has a new building," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Canadian Press on Thursday. "Mr. Balsillie has assured the commissioner that he shares this commitment."

Balsillie, 45, became the front-runner in the bidding for the team a few weeks ago after a deal involving former Torontonian Sam Fingold fell apart this summer.

Negotiations for an arena to replace the 45-year-old Mellon Arena have been held up because Lemieux's group has a deal with the Isle of Capri casino chain to build the arena at no cost to the team or city. That deal is contingent on Isle of Capri being granted the licence for a new downtown Pittsburgh slot machine parlour.

The licence is not expected to be awarded until at least the end of December.

City and Allegheny County officials have urged the team to agree to a Plan B deal to build the arena if Isle of Capri does not get the casino. Land for the project has been acquired across the street from Mellon Arena.

However, Lemieux's group has declined to accept the alternative plan, saying it is bound to the Isle of Capri deal.

Balsillie comes to the NHL with deep pockets.

The explosion of BlackBerrys has generated RIM's rapid growth. In late June, RIM issued better-than-expected results for its fiscal first quarter along with a rosy outlook for BlackBerry sales.

The firm brought in revenues of $613.1 million (U.S.) in the three months ended June 3, up 35 per cent from $453.9 million in the same period a year earlier ? beating the consensus analysts' estimate by about $10 million.


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Duhatschek: Why Toronto needs another NHL team


Globe and Mail Update

Now that the sale of the Pittsburgh Penguins to Research In Motion's Jim Balsillie is official, there are those who believe the National Hockey League team will survive in the Pennsylvania city for years to come; and others who think it's only a matter of time before they move north of the border.

Since the Penguins' sale was so complicated and the new arena waters remain so muddied, it is largely pointless to debate that question now. It'll be months, possibly years, before the Penguins' final resting place is decided ? and there are many factors, beyond even Balsillie's control, that will ultimately determine their long-term fate.

What does need to be debated again is how ridiculously underserved the Toronto hockey market is at the moment ? and why the league desperately needs to put a second franchise in the Golden Horseshoe.

If it's the Penguins, great: That would put a trio of the game's best young talents (Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal) in a market that would appreciate their abilities and provide ample fan and corporate support for their attempts to build the NHL's next great dynasty.

If it's not the Penguins and it's someone else, that would be fine too.

Now, obviously, the biggest single stumbling block would be the Leafs' opposition to the move ? and under NHL bylaws, they could block any attempt to enter their market on the grounds of territorial rights infringement.

This, of course, would represent just another example of the short-sighted thinking that has the organization 39 years removed from its last Stanley Cup championship, with no end to the drought in sight.

The Leafs are absolutely bulletproof in their market; it wouldn't matter if there were three NHL teams competing with them. In this world, there are two types of hockey fans ? the ones who love the Leafs and the ones who hate them. The ones who love the Leafs will always support them ? and they've proven that through the years, gobbling up tickets during the embarrassment of the Harold Ballard era; and continuing to demonstrate their love of the team through all the ups and downs of the decades that followed.

Red Kelly said it pretty well the other day: Leaf fans are the most loyal and knowledgeable in the game. Now, there is no tangible proof to show how smart they are, but there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate their blind fidelity to the team. When the Leafs' games are televised on Hockey Night In Canada, ratings soar. When someone else is featured, they slump.

None of that would change, even in the presence of a second team in the marketplace ? and for proof, consider the example of New York, where the Rangers reign supreme, even though the Islanders were the model franchise of the 1980s and the Devils the model franchise of the 1990s.

Despite the fact that the Rangers struggled through as many hard times and down periods as the Leafs did over the period, their fan support never waned.

That's mostly because of their history as an Original Six team. As a brand, the Rangers can't be damaged, no matter how many grossly overpaid, underachieving players passed through their line-up over the years.

A second team in the metropolitan Toronto area would galvanize all the Leaf haters into one faction and presumably, put them squarely behind the new team, in the same way the New York Mets came along at the start of the 1960s to give New York baseball fans an alternative to the Yankees.

If anything, the presence of a second team in Toronto would only enhance the franchise ? by adding one more natural geographic rival ? and if they ever met in the playoffs, it would represent great drama, a Gardiner Expressway series between the downtown Leafs and the Mississauga-based newcomers.

Because let's face it: At a time when interest in the NHL remains lukewarm in so many cities south of the 49th parallel, the demand in five of the six Canadian cities (except Ottawa) is unprecedented All those people living from Oshawa to Oakville and spilling out into Aurora and points south and west deserve a chance to buy an actual ticket to watch an actual NHL game ? and most can't do it, because the demand is so high and the supply so limited.

Maybe the most telling note of all was there on the Penguins' website Thursday morning, after the news of the sale was posted. Just above the photo of Balsillie and the details of the purchase agreement was a two-line stream of copy promoting the Penguins' next game against the Red Wings, this coming Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

It promised: 'Great seats still remain.'


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If Ontario got another team someday I would be sad, but I would guess there are a few more seasons left in Pittsburgh before that happens. Bring them to Canada, but anywhere except there :s

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If Ontario got another team someday I would be sad, but I would guess there are a few more seasons left in Pittsburgh before that happens. Bring them to Canada, but anywhere except there :s

I'd drive out to hicville to see a Penguins game.

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"It's Hockey nightin Canada with the NEW Hamilton Penguins ... " ... "The New Golden Horseshoe Penguins" ... "The New Hamilton Blackberry's"

The Hamilton Blackberrys ... it has a catchy ring to it *LOL*

Would rather see them in London Ontario (which deserves a Pro team w/ the John Labatt Ctr), or north of Steeles Ave

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I'm not in favor of a move.

I know all you Canadian hockey fans are getting wet in the crotch over this, but while I think it's great there's a new owner for the team (great as in he can handle it, not great as in Mario is losing the team), I don't want to see a team that's won championships and has a history be moved. I'm never in favor of that, no matter where a team currently resides.

Fans shouldn't be looked down upon because they don't support a crappy team. This would be different if it were the Florida Marlins -- a good team that gets no supported -- but the team isn't good. I'd like to see them remain in Pitt and at least try to make the team better (signing big name players doesn't mean anything if there's no chemistry or a good coach).

If they still suffer in both ways (playing and attendance), then by all means move them. But I don't believe in moving teams just to move them, just as I'm not in favor of expansion for the NHL right now (and who should be?).

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They'd probably be a more profittable team if they moved up around here, I'd go to their games if they're less than the mortgage you need to see a leafs game in the good seats :|

Hamilton Blackberries good one:P (Y)

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More like Winnipeg Jets as unlikely as that is. Ontario doesn't need another team, we have a brand new arena in Winnipeg and a decent fanbase for hockey, but the nhl doesn't like to makes sense so I can't see them coming here for now.

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One post was split back to BPN upon request. Please note that according to what has been reported, Jim Balsillie has purchased the team and not Research in Motion itself.

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  • 2 months later...

RIM CEO won't buy Penguins

Dec. 15, 2006. 09:13 PM


PITTSBURGH ? Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie has withdrawn his offer to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Penguins made the announcement late Friday afternoon, issuing a brief statement from current owner Mario Lemieux.

?Jim Balsillie delivered a notice of termination today, and it is our understanding that he has stopped negotiating with the National Hockey League to get the necessary consent to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins,? Lemieux said in the release. ?While these developments create significant uncertainty, the Penguins organization will re-evaluate our situation after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board makes the decision on the awarding of the Pittsburgh gaming licence.?

Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. has promised to build a $290-million (all figures U.S.) arena to replace the 45-year-old Mellon Arena ? at no cost to taxpayers or the team ? if it?s awarded the licence.

A decision is expected to come next week.

?What is clear is the best way to assure that the team remains viable and in Pittsburgh is to award the gaming licence to the Isle of Capri,? Lemieux said.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also conceded that the Penguins? future in Pittsburgh is dependent on the Isle of Capri licence being granted.

?Today?s development was unfortunate,? he said in a statement. ``If the Isle of Capri is not granted the licence on Wednesday, then an already difficult and volatile situation will be aggravated.

?It is imperative that the Penguins have a new arena on economic terms that make sense for the franchise for the team to remain in Pittsburgh.?

Balsillie is co-chief executive officer of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd (TSX:RIM). He signed an agreement to buy the team in October for a reported $175 million, pending approval from the league.


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Frank D'Angelo ponders bid for Penguins

Dec. 17, 2006. 06:10 PM



Potential suitors for the Pittsburgh Penguins began examining their options over the weekend following Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie's sudden withdrawal from a proposed deal to buy the NHL club.

Frank D'Angelo, the colourful Toronto businessman behind Steelback beer whose bid for CFL franchise in Ottawa was recently turned down, said Sunday he and billionaire partner Dr. Barry Sherman were considering making an offer.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is also believed to have renewed interest in looking at the club and Balsillie, co-chief executive officer of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd (TSX: RIM), also remains in the picture despite pulling the plug Friday on a deal for the Pens reportedly worth US$175 million.

D'Angelo, Sherman and a team of their financial advisers spent the day developing models for a possible offer and the infrastructure of how they would operate the franchise.

They hope to secure a meeting with Penguins president Ken Sawyer next week.

"It's hard to understand what you're up against until you've seen all the numbers," D'Angelo said in an interview with The Canadian Press on Sunday. "We just finished a meeting now, putting together a business plan."

Best known to the public from the folksy Steelback beer commercials with NHL stars of the past and the tongue-in-cheek Cheetah sport drink ads with Ben Johnson, D'Angelo says he would keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., has promised to build a $290-million arena to replace the 45-year-old Mellon Arena ? at no cost to taxpayers or the team ? if it obtains a slot machine licence from the state.

A decision on the licence is expected this week.

"We have absolutely no intention of moving the team," said D'Angelo. "We want to keep the team where it's been for the past 40 years and that has produced players like the great Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and now has Sidney Crosby."

Sources told The Canadian Press on Friday that part of the reason Balsillie's deal fell through was his unhappiness with the NHL's insistence that keeping the team in Pittsburgh be part of the deal.

D'Angelo says he and Sherman could build their own rink if Isle of Capri loses out on the slot machine licence, benefiting from the building's naming rights and supplying the beverages there.

"First and foremost we want to be part of the NHL, which I think is going to flourish and prosper," said D'Angelo. "We also want to be part of that as a producer of beverages, some of which are associated with sports and entertainment like beer."

D'Angelo was among the three groups hoping to bring the CFL back to Ottawa for 2008, but was rejected by the league last month. The CFL remains in talks with a group led by Bill Palmer ? father of quarterback Jesse Palmer.

D'Angelo says he remains interested in pursuing a CFL team in Ottawa as well and will pursue the matter once the league settles on a commissioner to replace Tom Wright.


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penguins are coming to canada! aslong as Pittsburgh doesn't try to build a new stadium, canada gets another team.

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Just one thing that I don't catch, "Canadian buys the Pittsburgh Penguins" but the current owner, Mario Lemieux is already a Canadian (even if he live in US right now, he is born here in Quebec...).

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Just one thing that I don't catch, "Canadian buys the Pittsburgh Penguins" but the current owner, Mario Lemieux is already a Canadian (even if he live in US right now, he is born here in Quebec...).

I tought he sold his assets....

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