Who own da Chief?

George Gillett denies Jim Balsillie’s suggestion, published in today’s La Presse, that the Canadiens are for sale.

But as François Gagnon points out, everything is for sale … if the price is right.

Balsillie, whose company, Research in Motion, makes the ubiquitous BlackBerry, has pots of a money and an insatiable desire to own aNational Hockey League franchise.

(Forbes profile of Balsillie, Wikipedia entry)

 Stymied in his plan to buy the Nashville Predators and move them to southern Ontario, Balsillie delights in causing heartburn for Gary Bettman.

This Canadiens trial balloon is the latest example.

Uncle George will not sell his favourite toy during centennial year.

But "never" is not a word heard often on Wall St., Bay St. – or Lagauchetière West.

Anyway, a fun story to keep the hotlines buzzing while we wait for the puck to drop in Columbus. 

• Boone’s live blog 


  1. Dan23 says:

    It doesn’t make a lot of sense for Gillett to sell, especially in the Centennial year.

    The other thing that a lot of people may not realize is that George Gillett and his associated companies and colleagues have been steadily buying up a lot of land around the Bell Centre. One of the ideas being bandied about as to what’s behind all the purchases is that the Gillett Entertainment Group wants to build a performance hall to book events as the Bell Centre is pretty much at capacity now.

    One supposes they might have other ideas in mind as well. It has also been reported that want to buy the Windsor Station plaza, which makes a lot of sense since it’s next door to the Bell Centre.

    Pretty smart businessman, that Mr. Gillett.

  2. Willy the bum says:

    “Jean-Guy, he faire pee-pee…”

    “No, I okay.”


    “We all wore the same costume as Maurice Richard did; the red-white-and-blue costume of the Montréal Canadiens, the best hockey team in the world.” – Roch Carrier

  3. Willy the bum says:

    Old-school rock… yeah!

    “We all wore the same costume as Maurice Richard did; the red-white-and-blue costume of the Montréal Canadiens, the best hockey team in the world.” – Roch Carrier

  4. Ian Cobb says:

    No , I think I am just boared, to long between games.

  5. Robert L says:

    Say what you will about Brisebois, the guy has the best I-Pod list on the Habs.


  6. Elephant Man says:

    Ok ok, hones… hones… who hones da Chiefs?

    I am not an animal, I just reproduce that way.

  7. likehoy says:

    ballsilly or gillet…either way it’s clear that both guys are committed to hockey.

    gillet has proven it over the recent years that he loves the habs and what they stand for

    and balsillie really wants a hockey team cause he loves the sport and wants to see it grow…either way the habs are in a win-win…but it won’t happen cause balsillie wants a team in hamilton…he’s a pioneer and as a pioneer, moving a team into a new market would be his piece of the pie

  8. Ian Cobb says:

    It is a summer day out there today. Just got back after a bike ride and I am more than ready for the puck to drop.

    I wonder how many periods it will take for the rust to wear off against the Jackets tonight. Even the tape on their sticks has gone brittle.

    Injury will be in the picture this evening, one week between games is insane. About 15 or 20 min each, that’s one weeks work to stay in game shape.

    How many groin pulls tonight? and will the timing be so out of whack that we cannot pass or keep puck possession?

  9. Treefingers says:

    I wonder how much the Habs could sell for in their centennial season…

  10. DMAN says:

    So you are pretty sure the press who were interviewing him didn’t try to stretch what he said.

    I don’t buy it.

    Individual records are nice to get, but before the season starts, you want to play to win the Stanley Cup! ~ Guy Lafleur

  11. Naila Jinnah says:

    Booo… Now I respect you less, Mr. Balsillie. Making up lies.

    Although, the NHL isn’t known for its honesty in this matter, George Gillett Jr is pretty trustworthy.


  12. rp25 says:

    JBalls grew up in Peterboro and has been a lifetime Hab fan .Thats a good thing ! But read my lips.. NO DEAL .NO WAY.I think I ll go get a life now…See ya at 7.

  13. Hoegarden says:

    Great story Robert,
    who would have ever imagined him wearing the CH ?

  14. Hoegarden says:

    By far the best I’ve seen.

  15. Bill H says:

    Thanks for the insight into Balsillie. Great post Sulemaan.

  16. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Do you really want a logo like Pizza Hut,Bell,Bombardier or Rodgers Video Rentals on the backs of Hab jersey’s,HELL ,WHY NOT MAKE IT NEON L.E.D. FEX SCREENS AND PLAY A DIFFERENT COMMERCIAL ON EACH BACK,COME-ON!

  17. Chorske says:

    Except that Gillette is NO Pocklington.

  18. Chorske says:

    Absolutely agree on every point.

  19. likehoy says:

    very interesting note on balsillie being a micro-manager, nothing more annoying!

  20. 24 Cups says:

    Great post Sulemaan. Make no mistake about it, regardless of which team it is, this Balsillie guy wants to have a hockey team as his toy, not just as a business venture. He would probably see himself as the ultimate hands on guy who knows everything about the game. Shades of George Steinbrenner, for sure. The last line of your post sums it all up for Hab fans – the march toward Cup #25 in still our main priority.

    Going For The Brass Ring – 25 Cups In 100 Years

  21. gincognito says:

    I’m tempted to flag this as offensive.
    Not for your comment, but for you signature.

    Sick and ashamed and happy (and cheer for Canada’s team during the Olympics, Montreal’s team during the NHL season…and not going to get into any notion of “god’s team”),

  22. likehoy says:

    how is it a terrible idea? if you’d like to elaborate

    i understand it’s sore on the eyes, but financially it’s a huge gain.

  23. likehoy says:

    “eleventy billion dollars”

    that’s not a real number


  24. Big Bird says:

    Couple of cents from the peanut gallery:

    (1) When George Gillette bought the team from Molson people were up in arms about – horror of horrors – an “American” bought the Sainte-Flanelle.

    (2) George Gillette not only invested money in the team bought hired a very qualified management team (Bob Gainey) but more importantly empowered them and did not micro-manage them or think they knew more about hockey than the hockey people did. Ronald Corey anyone?

    (3) Jim Balsillie has been extremely successful in launching RIM (Blackberry) which is a true success story. He has shown that he can run a profitable business. He’s also Canadian which may matter to some and not to others. If he ends up buying the Canadians it should be fine so long as he doesn’t mess around with the management structure.

    (4) But knowing people at RIM, the corporate culture there is brutal and Balsillie is known to be a brutal micro-manager which Bob Gainey would never tolerate. You lose Gainey, you could lose Timmins, Carbonneau, Muller, Melanson and Jarvis. Say what you will but he’s the best GM in quite some time, at least since Serge Savard. Some might argue since the great Sam Pollock himself.

    (5) At the end of the day, George Gillette may love the Montreal Canadiens, I have no reason to doubt him, but if he gets an incredible offer or needs the cash-flow because the rest of his business empire is suffering (remember that was why Pocklington sold Gretzky back in the day) then it will happen. No use fretting over something we can’t control.

  25. Hockey11 says:

    300 million

  26. Chorske says:

    One. Hundred. BILLION. Dollars.

    We’ll even put FRICKIN LASER BEAMS on Carey Price’s head. Is that too much to ask?

  27. nightmare_49 says:

    The NHL Morning Papers (Friday Edition) : Flyers Need More than Shanny, Unlucky Sergei K. and the Goaltending Controversy in Washington and much more .. by Ari ….. http://www.illegalcurve.com/2008/11/07/nhl-morning-papers-eastern-conference-friday-edition-3/ …………………… Columbus PreVu : Halak Starts .. TSN ….. http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=255060&lid=headline&lpos=secStory_nhl ………… Footnote: Rostislav ‘Rusty’ Klesla will not play for the BlueJackets tonight.

  28. Chorske says:

    I WAS just teasing you. You made yourself perfectly clear the first time round. 😉

  29. spirit of the Habs says:

    It’s a terrible idea and once it starts where does it stop? It’s not like the Habs are raking in the cash or anything lol.

    Canadas Team, Gods Team You name it The Habs are it

  30. Chorske says:

    No seriously, how do you feel about sponsor logos on jerseys?

  31. yathehabsrule says:

    I wouldn’t compare him to Cuban just yet…When he finally owns a team and jumps onto the ice to confront a referee (and with the questionable penalty calls the Habs get , that would be a a lot of chances), THEN we can start to comparing him…

  32. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Egad,hockey’s version of Mark Cuban is a Habs fan,he’s got it going on!

  33. spirit of the Habs says:

    FU#@ YOU!

    Canadas Team, Gods Team You name it The Habs are it

  34. likehoy says:

    try myp2p.eu and justin.tv

  35. vic says:

    does anyone know where I can get the game? My tv is down.

  36. likehoy says:

    off topic but i think to drive up revenues…teams should start wearing a single sponsor on their jerseys…with a possible market recession…an extra 10-20 million dollar contract on writing “sony” or “BMW” on the back of your jersey would help the economy…

    manchester united FC has a $100milion/4 year contract with AIG…

    since i would only want to see the ads on the back of a jersey…under the player number…rather than the front (the NHL team logos take up so much space already)…a sponsor contract would still yield millions of dollars.

  37. spirit of the Habs says:

    Who wouldnt want to buy the Canadiens? after some time of malaise we are now as prestigious as ever well a Stanley Cup would help that out too but thats coming.

    Canadas Team, Gods Team You name it The Habs are it

  38. yathehabsrule says:

    Gillette is a great owner and people person but I beleive he has filed for bankruptcy once before and I do recall recently that the Habs were high up in the debt ratio. So if given the chance in this current economy, he may part ways..That or Mr. Blackberry buys what Molson has left to get his fot in the door.

    If Basilllie (sp) is not a great micro manager as Big Bird says, then I don;t want hem ANYWHERE near the Bell Centre with his check book.

    You can have a great product and all the money you need but without a proper structure you will still fail.

  39. Gary320 says:

    NHL already does it. Islanders have two.. its the best thing to do.

    I hope to god we will never see ad’s on jerseys..

  40. gincognito says:

    A slightly tongue in cheek reaction to anyone referring to any sports team as “god’s team.” A touch presumptuous to say the least, wouldn’t you say?

    Sick and ashamed and happy (and, again, tongue ever-so-slightly in cheek),

  41. 24 Cups says:

    Moey – So true. Your reply is the post of the year so far!!!

    Going For The Brass Ring – 25 Cups In 100 Years

  42. Moey says:

    Good grief Big Bird, if people here don’t fret over things they can’t control, 3/4 of the posts would disappear! 🙂

  43. spirit of the Habs says:

    What little would be gained financially Who Cares? its not going in your pocket ya know…. Besides The Habs sell tradition and that is not tradition, that is blasphemy.

    You know what else would make lots of money if we changed the name of the team to the mcdonald big macs and used the golden arches for our symbol. Think of all the money we could make.

    Poeple have been talking about soocer jerseys THEY LOOK TERRIBLE. I see people wearing them and im like oh nice and AIG fan or a Siemens fan. or whetever company is on those silly shirts.

    Canadas Team, Gods Team You name it The Habs are it

  44. likehoy says:

    from a fans point of view, understandable

    from a financial point of view, it’s completely different.

    plus…you’re being a little over the top…NHL would have to actually ban hits from behind in case it ruins the LED screen.

  45. Habsrule1 says:

    My brother and I talked about this recently. I’m a bit surprised it hasn’t happened already. A lot of sports do it. I personally wouldn’t mind a little patch, but at the same time, it kinda takes away from the jerseys.

    “I can’t hear what Jeremy(Roenick) is saying because my Stanley Cup rings are in my ears” – Patrick Roy

    Go Habs Go!!


  46. Moey says:

    Hey Ian,

    Are you turning into the prophet of doom? I took you for a glass half full type of guy 🙂

  47. spirit of the Habs says:

    I dont get what your saying about the sig?

    Canadas Team, Gods Team You name it The Habs are it

  48. The Capitalist Pig says:

    “Don’t be naive, everything and everyone has their price.” The Capitalist Pig

  49. likehoy says:

    tim horton’s making an NHL comeback?!

  50. The Capitalist Pig says:

    Pocklington was no Pocklington until he traded Gretzky.

  51. The Capitalist Pig says:

    Considering that AIG is now a ward of the US Treasury Department, that deal with Man U certainly won’t be renewed.

  52. Xtrahabsfan says:

    I heard the L.O.D. “liquid organic display” can be rolled up and is tough as nails,so don’t be surprised to see Tim Horton’s on the back of your favorite player soon,lol

  53. likehoy says:

    it’s not going into my pocket, that’s for sure, but it’s for the health of the league in light of talk of a recession. It could stop the growth of the NHL. The cap has gone up 20 million since the lockout, but it could go down next year and we won’t be able to sign all our favourite star players.

    the habs could always abstain from future advertisement, but other teams that are in financial situations such as the predators, or the blue jackets, or whoever can make some extra revenue with a contract. The extra revenue gain by the other teams is beneficial due to revenue sharing and the habs will benefit from other teams doing well

    Barcelona FC abstained from advertisement up until 2 years ago when it contracted to UNICEF, which is a very good organization to advertise. The advertisement would always remain a choice of the team and their functions and not a necessity for teams that make excellent revenue’s on their own.

    Also the reason why the ads can be so big and placed in the middle of a soccer jersey is because they symbolize their team with a small crest, such like a family crest, and that they know the team by their colours, and not their logo, which is unlike hockey where the team is recognized by their logo. Thiss re-emphasizes my point on how it could be placed on the back of the jersey so it doesn’t take away from the large logo on the front of the jersey.

    Your argument about the golden arches is too over the top and irrelevant. No one is that stupid.

  54. spirit of the Habs says:

    Yes i suppose I did.

    Canadas Team, Gods Team You name it The Habs are it

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