BlackBerry billionaire Jim Balsillie will not be appealing a ruling by a U.S. bankruptcy court judge that rejected both his and the NHL's bids for the beleaguered Phoenix Coyotes.

The ruling effectively ended Balsillie's long legal battle to relocate the team to Hamilton.

"From the beginning, my attempt to relocate the Coyotes to Hamilton has been about Canadian hockey fans and Canadian hockey. It was a chance to realize a dream," Balsillie said in a statement. "I believe I got that chance. I respect the court's decision, and I will not be putting forward an appeal."

The ruling was clearly a victory for the NHL, even if it didn't win outright.

Bill Daly, the NHL's deputy commissioner issued a statement saying, "We are pleased that the Bankruptcy Court has confirmed the League's rights to select its owners and the location of its franchises. It remains our goal to secure the long-term stability of the Coyotes in Glendale (Arizona)."

Judge Redfield T. Baum's decision leaves the fate of the Coyotes in the NHL's hands.

"In hockey parlance, the court is passing the puck to the NHL, who can decide to take another shot at the sale net or it can pass off the puck," Baum wrote in his decision.

However, the judge seemed warm to the NHL's offer for the team, saying that the league could "easily cure" the problems in its bid.

Baum said Balsillie's bid was tossed aside because the Research-in-Motion CEO could not garner the approval of the NHL to move the Coyotes to Hamilton.

"In the final analysis, the court cannot find or conclude that the interests of the NHL can be adequately protected if the Coyotes are moved to Hamilton without first having a final decision regarding the claimed rights of the NHL and the claims of the debtors and (Balsillie)," the judge ruled.

The 28-page ruling said the Balsillie offer was denied "with prejudice," while the NHL's bid was rejected "without prejudice."

The Coyotes filed for bankruptcy in May, and Balsillie immediately offered US$212.5 million for the team, contingent on it moving to Hamilton. He later upped that bid to US$242.5 million.

The NHL Board of Governors would not approve Balsillie as an owner and the NHL filed its own US$140 million bid for Phoenix.

Baum was concerned with the NHL's proposal to pick which unsecured creditors it would pay out in full -- payouts that would not include former owner Jerry Moyes and ex-coach Wayne Gretzky, who resigned last week.

"There has been no determination that the Moyes and Gretzky claims are not `legitimate creditors.' It would be inherently unjust for this court to deprive them of their possible rightful share of any proceeds without first providing all involved a fair trial on their claims," Baum said.

From early on in the proceedings, Baum expressed hesitation to set a precedent. The NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball all voiced support for the NHL's position.

The Coyotes play their first game of the regular season on Saturday, Oct. 3.

The team has been massively unsuccessful, both financially and on the ice, since the club moved to Phoenix from Winnipeg in 1996.

Court records cite losses of $75 million in 2004, $50 million in 2005, $75 million in 2006, $117 million in 2007 and $72 million in 2008.

The financial statements "raise substantial doubt as to the company's ability to continue as a going concern," Baum said.

The franchise has not made it past the first round of the playoffs since 1987, when they were known as the Winnipeg Jets.

Despite his loss, Balsillie said Canada is closer to having a seventh NHL team.

"Nobody can deny that we are now a big step closer to having a seventh NHL team in Canada. It doesn't matter who owns that team. When that day comes, I will be the first in line to buy a ticket to the home opener," he said.

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger called the decision "very disappointing."

"The good news in it for Hamilton is that all have agreed that hockey in southern Ontario is viable and that it would be a successful market for them to start working with," Eisenberger said.