SUN Hockey Pool

Talking about Toronto

SLAM! Sports staff

, Last Updated: 2:47 PM ET

The National Hockey League is mulling over the idea of putting a second team in Toronto, according to a newspaper report.

Several NHL governors talked about an informal discussion that would lead to a second team playing out of the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

The report, which appeared in today's Globe and Mail, indicated that Jim Balsillie could be in line to receive an expansion team if he helps the financially-troubled Nashville Predators get back on their feet. Two NHL governors confirmed that the scenario has been floated.

"I've heard this exact scenario," the anonymous governor told the Globe.

So far, the NHL has not commented on the story while Balsillie's Toronto lawyer, who acts as his spokesman on hockey-related topics, remained mum when asked to comment.

Balsillie, the co-CEO of Blackberry maker Research in Motion Ltd., attempted to buy the Predators in the past but was rebuffed by the NHL after it became clear he intended to move the franchise to the Hamilton area. That angered NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and led to then-Preds owner Craig Leipold walking away from Balsillie's $238 million offer for the team.

Putting an NHL franchise in Hamilton is a non-starter, according to the report, though a second club in the Greater Toronto Area has been discussed.

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Richard Peddie said a second Toronto franchise would not be automatically rejected by his club.

"When and if the league brings expansion to the table, we'll listen and decide what is best (for hockey)," Peddie told the Globe.

The Predators are again in financial difficulty after William (Boots) Del Biaggio III, minority owner of the franchise since buying a 27 per cent stake in August of 2007, declared for bankruptcy. The team has filed a $100 million claim in bankruptcy court for damages.

Earlier reports have indicated that Balsillie is still interested in ownership of the Nashville franchise.


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