New York senators oppose Coyotes relocation because it could hurt Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York are opposed to the Phoenix Coyotes relocating to southern Ontario because it would have a potential “crippling” effect on the Buffalo Sabres.

In a letter sent to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday, the two Democrats sided with the league in its bid to prevent BlackBerry boss Jim Balsillie from purchasing the bankrupt Coyotes and moving them to Hamilton, located about 45 minutes west of Buffalo.

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The Sabres, one of the NHL’s strongest U.S. small-market franchises, generate about 20 per cent of their revenue from across the border.

The NHL has asked a bankruptcy judge to uphold the league’s right to determine who owns a franchise and where it plays.