Dear Jim Balsillie – If Phoenix Doesn’t Work Out…

I decided to write this open letter to Jim Balsillie and post it here instead of mailing it off 🙂

Dear Jim Balsillie,

You possess a rare quality that truly is a bonus as a Sports Franchise owner.   You sir, are a Billionaire.   For some reason the NHL doesn’t wish to have you as a member of their club.

Now I’m hoping that you resolve your issues with them and get to move the pathetic franchise in Phoenix to Hamilton, a city truly deserving of World Class Hockey.

If it fails I would like to offer you this concept.   Create a brand new hockey league.   Say six teams to start.   Hamilton, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, and Vancouver for season one.  The focus would be making games available via the net from home computers to ….Blackberry’s for those on the run.

I have a hunch as your new league would not have any negotiated deal with the NHL that you could probably poach some awfully good talent.

You could also start from scratch in the sense that you could create a system that the players would truly appreciate and make them true partners in the product.  Because the league would be small and focused on Hockey and not some of the bizarre stuff that happens in the NHL boardrooms I think the end result would be very entertaining and if done right something that can be built on.

I think this project would also cost much less than having to pay $242.5 Million for the Coyotes and then the excessive relocation fee Toronto, Buffalo, and Mr Bettman are demanding.

I think this can be marketed very strongly.  My background btw, regarding hockey,  is that I was an exec for a Hockey Card Company, worked for the Montreal Canadiens after creating a video statistical system, and having brokered appearances for players.  I also created one of the first Rotisserie style Hockey systems.

So you can fight the good fight, and maybe win your franchise, and then have to see and hear Gary Bettman, or you can own the whole enchilada while taking steps to improve Hockey in Canada.

If you wish to see the plans I have or discuss this further you can reach me at or phone me at 613.361.1755


Jamie Gilcig

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  1. In order for an idea for this to even be plausible, you would have to hit up markets that don’t already have teams. Think Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Northern Quebec, Northern Ontario, Saskatchewan, and yea, even Hamilton. I wouldn’t head straight for the venues that are already taken.

  2. Author

    No, for the first year what would be important is the league complete its season with no weirdness and have a solid foundation to build on. Six teams for year one would make that target plausible. There are budgetary, travel, and talent consideration. Most of the League’s “Fans” would be via the Internet, Broadcast, and other forms of transmission.

    For year two you could add cities like Quebec, Winnepeg, a 2nd BC team, and yes two teams in Eastern Canada. I’d also suggest a cup between the KHL and such a League and a non poaching player agreement.

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