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Balsillie applies for NHL ownership

While the NHL and Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes look like they canfinally get along, the question becomes whether the league will admitor blackball BlackBerry magnate Jim Balsillie.

While the NHL and Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes look like they can finally get along, the question becomes whether the league will admit or blackball BlackBerry magnate Jim Balsillie.

The league has before it the application by the billionaire co-founder of Research In Motion to become an owner. Next week, it will receive an application from Moyes to officially move the team to Hamilton.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly declined to comment on Balsillie’s application, but confirmed to the Toronto Star the NHL will continue to pay the Coyotes’ bills until the team is sold as part of a mediation agreement.

Moyes and the NHL were ordered into mediation last week by Judge Redfield Baum, an order that has borne some fruit. The once-prickly matter of “control” appears to be moot, with both sides instead focusing on running the day-to-day business of the team.

“The control issue is not resolved,” Daly said in an email. “But the parties are trying to agree on a process to jointly operate the club pending the sale.”

A hearing tomorrow will shed light on some matters, including the process to sell the team and the city of Glendale’s lawsuit to force the team to say at the Jobing.com Arena for another 26 years.

Any relocation will be decided in June, with Moyes kick-starting that when he hands in his application next week. The NHL will likely turn down Moyes’ application — setting in motion an anti-trust suit.

But what it does with Balsillie’s application to be approved as an owner is anyone’s guess. Balsillie was approved when he tried to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins, so the Balsillie camp is hopeful the vetting process will be seamless.

 
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