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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.

"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.

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