May 15, 2009

Jim Balsillie has announced a pair of corporate sponsors in his bid to bring the financially troubled Phoenix Coyotes to Canada.

The co-CEO of Blackberry maker Research In Motion said Friday that Labatt Breweries and Home Hardware are the first "anchor corporate partners" to support his bid. Balsillie has made a $212.5 million offer for the Coyotes, conditional on moving the team to Ontario.

"What began as a grassroots movement to support bringing a seventh NHL club to Canada is now attaining critical mass," Balsillie said in a statement.

A Phoenix bankruptcy judge will hear arguments Tuesday over who is currently in control of the Coyotes -- majority owner Jerry Moyes, who favors the Balsillie bid, or the league, which argues Moyes signed over control to the NHL in exchange for money advanced to the franchise.

Balsillie also launched an expanded Web site, which features "Make it Seven" clothing for sale with proceeds donated to minor hockey programs.

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