Toronto Maple Leafs CEO Tim Lieweke wants to give his team’s fans a great gift for the Leafs’ 100th birthday as an NHL franchise in 2017. If he has his way, he’ll have a whole bundle of gifts for Leafs faithful in the form of every major NHL event hosted within the city that year. It’s a lofty expectation, but one that seems entirely possible in Lieweke’s mind.
“This is the greatest hockey city on Earth,” Lieweke said per Sportsnet. “I think we owe it to our fans. And we’re telling the league that they owe it to our fans. They don’t disagree, but we’ve got to go through a process to win it. I think we’ll win it. I think we’ll get there. But we got to go bid on it.”
It’s safe to say that Toronto will get a fair deal of recognition from the league for their special year. The team and the city sport the largest, most profitable market in the NHL. Even if the team has struggled to become a mainstay in the playoffs, they will have always have troves of fans that outnumber those of any other NHL team, plenty of whom are happy to come downtown for any old hockey game, let alone a special event like the NHL Draft, All-Star Game or a Winter Classic. The latter may actually cause the biggest issue for the city.
The article notes, “Toronto hosting the 2017 Winter Classic is still dependent on the expansion of BMO Field, home of MLSE’s soccer club, Toronto FC. In April, Toronto city council voted overwhelmingly in favour of earmarking $10 million for MLSE’s proposed expansion of the pitch.”
If building plans go as scheduled, we could very well see Toronto host the NHL’s full lineup of major events all in one year. For a city that already calls itself the ‘centre of the hockey universe’, it would be one heck of a way to ring in its second century of existence.
Tags: Toronto Maple Leafs