One week after rejecting the idea of using taxpayers’ money to help bring an NHL franchise to Hamilton, Premier Dalton McGuinty left the door open to using public funds to help fix up Copps Coliseum in hopes of attracting the Phoenix Coyotes.
RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie is looking for up to $120 million in federal and provincial funds to renovate the Hamilton arena if he is successful in his bid to move the bankrupt Coyotes to southern Ontario from Arizona.
McGuinty at first declined comment, saying his office had not been approached by Balsillie for money, but then refused to dismiss the idea of using taxpayers’ cash to upgrade Copps Coliseum.
“We’ll just have to wait and see if we get a sensible proposal,” McGuinty said yesterday.
The premier left the door open when asked directly if he was again ruling out public funds to attract an NHL franchise.
Deputy premier George Smitherman agreed the province is willing to consider using tax dollars to help Hamilton fix up Copps Coliseum, but only if Balsillie can convince an Arizona court to let him move the Coyotes.