10-04-2006, 07:53 PM
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[2006-09-15] BlackBerry boss eyes Penguins
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The chairman of Research in Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry mobile device, has reportedly emerged as the front-runner to purchase the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins.
Jim Balsillie, chairman and co-CEO of RIM, is the leading candidate to buy the Penguins from Hall of Fame hockey star Mario Lemieux, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Friday.
The paper cited sources with knowledge of the sale.
Reached Friday by the Record in Kitchener, Ont., Balsillie denied the report.
"No, it's not true," he told the newspaper.
Asked by the Record if he was involved or planning to be involved in any other way with the Penguins, Balsillie replied: "I don't comment on speculation."
A source close to the team told The Canadian Press on Friday that Balsillie was in fact in talks with the Penguins.
The Post-Gazette reported that Balsillie was revealed as the secret bidder who almost signed a letter of intent to buy the team in mid-July.
Balsillie reportedly wanted to try to move the Penguins to Hamilton, Ont., but balked at buying the team in the summer after learning that uprooting the franchise would be difficult.
Balsillie appears to be back in the mix after American real-estate developer Sam Fingold failed to reach a purchase agreement after signing his own letter of intent in July.
Penguins officials have long appealed for the need of a new hockey venue in Pittsburgh. The team's lease with the Mellon Arena, the Penguins' current home rink, expires in June.
The franchise has made a pact with Isle of Capri Gaming — a company that has said it will donate $290 million US toward the building of a new hockey arena in Pittsburgh if it is awarded a slots licence in the city later this year.
Source: CBC.ca Sports: BlackBerry boss eyes Penguins: report