Competition Bureau clears NHL in handling of failed bid for Preds

3/31/2008 - NHL

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The
National Hockey League won a legal faceoff on Monday when
Canada's antitrust watchdog found there was nothing improper in
its handling of a failed bid for the Nashville Predators.

The Competition Bureau started an investigation last year
when the NHL reportedly balked at an attempt by Canadian
billionaire Jim Balsillie, co-chief executive of BlackBerry
maker Research In Motion, to buy the Nashville team
with an eye to moving the club to southern Ontario.

Locating the team in Hamilton, Ontario, would have put it
in direct market competition with the Toronto Maple Leafs and
Buffalo Sabres, but there was no evidence the NHL blocked the
move for antitrust reasons, the regulators said.

"The NHL was consistently of the view that the Nashville
Predators franchise should not be relocated at this time,
irrespective of where the franchise would be relocated," the
bureau said.

The Predators were eventually bought by a group of
businessmen who plan to keep it in the Tennessee city.