I read that the judge felt "he did not have the power to force the relocation of the Coyotes to Hamilton" and he isn't going to step on "the relocation rights of the NHL".
Balsillie gambled and lost.
It would have set a precedent that the NHL, MLB, NFL, et al, could not function under.
Based on the few articles I've read on this matter it seems like Balsillie is very pro-Canada and Bettman, for better or worse, is manuvering to keep the NHL in total control of where teams are located, the majority in the U.S.
Gotta wonder if Balsillie's move did work if there would there be a sudden migration of NHL teams north?
More $$$ in Canada for hockey than in certain cities where the NHL has placed teams, that's for sure.
Moving to Hamilton would have meant certain death for the Sabres within 5 years. 20% of their season tix base is in Southern Ontario.
Don't be surprised if the NHL is still forced to auction them off sometime before the 2010-11 season.The NHL can't afford to keep losing that kind of money.
Hamilton is not the right location IMO. Winnipeg, Portland, and Seattle are all better places and wouldn't make the travel for the western teams even worse than it already is.
I'd like to point out that the team remains in Bankruptcy. There will be an open auction for the team this summer. Balsillie will still be alowed to make an offer and will likely buy the team for much less than the $212 million he had originally offered. Only this time, there won't be any strings attached to his bid.
So this decsion could actually work in Balsillie's favor. He will want to pay less for the team as he could be facing $100 million for a relocation fee.
But, yes, the Coyotes will play next season in Phoenix. I expect fan interest to completely drop off.