Hockey

Cherry not keen on Balsillie's tactics

Even though he thinks having an NHL team in Hamilton would be fantastic, Don Cherry doesn't like the way Jim Balsillie's trying to do it.

Even though he thinks having an NHL team in Hamilton would be fantastic, Don Cherry doesn't like the way Jim Balsillie's trying to do it.

"I feel he went about it the wrong way," he said on Hockey Night in Canada's Coach's Corner on Thursday. "I really do. I know the National Hockey League. You do not bully them, and you can't bully them.

"There's only one thing I would say: I wouldn't tick off [NHL commissioner Gary] Bettman."

Balsillie, the billionaire co-chief executive officer of Research In Motion, seems to have done just that with his back-door attempt to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and move them to southern Ontario.

The NHL is challenging Balsillie's attempt to buy the team in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

But that doesn't mean Cherry's not in favour of Balsillie's idea to move the team north, where it looks like Hamilton is the top choice.

"Nobody wants to see a franchise in Hamilton more than me," Cherry said. "They'd be an automatic gold mine."

And even though he's not keen on Balsillie's methods, Cherry still respects what he's trying to do.

"He's a patriot," Cherry said. "He's a hockey guy. He plays hockey, the whole deal. He really wants hockey here."

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