Balsillie hopes ‘Makes It Seven Day’ gives boost to pursuit of NHL team

HAMILTON, Ont. – Jim Balsillie hopes to make a splash Friday with a rally in Hamilton as part of his so-called “Make It Seven Day.”

The BlackBerry billionaire, whose US$212.5 million bid for the Phoenix Coyotes was rejected by an Arizona bankruptcy judge Monday, believes a strong showing from fans will boost his pursuit of an NHL team for Southern Ontario.

“Make It Seven day is all about providing a voice to Canadian hockey fans, while raising money for minor hockey teams across the country,” Balsillie said in a statement. “Canadians have proven themselves to be the best hockey fans in the world.

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“They need to be heard.”

Balsillie’s team has said the judge’s ruling does not close the door on a deal for the Coyotes and a move to Hamilton. A campaign urging fans to send letters of support to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was launched Wednesday.

“It all adds up,” said Balsillie. “We have a market that is crying out for an NHL franchise, great fans, a plan for a state-of-the-art arena and tremendous corporate support.”

The NHL is looking for a buyer interested in keeping the Coyotes where they are.