A source told CP that Balsillie, 45, is expected to announce the purchase in the next few days because some details still need to be worked out. Balsillie has reportedly been the front-runner in the bidding for the team for the last few weeks. His name surfaced after a deal involving former Torontonian Sam Fingold fell apart this summer.
Balsillie has previously denied that he was close to buying the team.
Quoting a source, globesports.com reported that Balsillie is expected to be in Pittsburgh on Thursday night for the team’s opening game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
While a deal is expected to be announced shortly before the game, globesports said, other sources it quoted cautioned that last-minute details still needed to be worked out and that the agreement could fall apart.
A source familiar with the discussions told globesports that Balsillie is expected to keep the team in Pittsburgh and he has no intention of moving it to Hamilton, Ont. There had been speculation that Balsillie wanted to buy a franchise and move it to Hamilton, which is close to his home and RIM’s head office in Waterloo.
When reached by the Waterloo Region Record by email Wednesday, Balsillie declined to comment.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday night in Raleigh, N.C., the league is intent on keeping the Penguins in Pittsburgh as long as a new arena is built.
Bettman declined to say whether the Balsillie group is close to completing the deal.
“I’m not in the position to announce anything or to confirm or deny anything they haven’t spoken on,” Bettman said. “Obviously the club is for sale and they are actively engaged in the sale process. But the most important message to take away from it is we believe the Penguins should be in Pittsburgh, and as long as there’s a new building coming, our goal and objective will be to keep the team there.”
Negotiations for an arena to replace the 45-year-old Mellon Arena have been held up because Lemieux’s group has a deal with the Isle of Capri casino chain to build the arena at no cost to the team or city. That deal is contingent on Isle of Capri being granted the license for a new downtown Pittsburgh slot machine parlor.
The license is not expected to be awarded until at least the end of the year.
City and Allegheny County officials have urged the team to agree to a Plan B deal to build the arena if Isle of Capri does not get the casino. Land for the project has been acquired across the street from Mellon Arena.
However, Lemieux’s group has declined to accept the alternative plan, saying it is bound to the Isle of Capri deal.
Should Balsillie buy the team, he will come into the NHL fold with deep pockets.
The explosion of BlackBerrys has generated RIM’s rapid growth. In late June, RIM issued better-than-expected results for its fiscal first quarter along with a rosy outlook for BlackBerry sales.
The firm brought in revenues of US$613.1 million in the three months ended June 3, up 35 per cent from $453.9 million in the same period a year earlier – beating the consensus analysts’ estimate by about $10 million.