So the big news out of Toronto in the middle of a steaming hot July, according to Bloomberg News, is that a couple of months into his new job, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment head honcho Tim Leiweke has already planned his hockey team's Stanley Cup parade route.
Well, shut the front door and stop the presses.
Most Toronto Maple Leafs fans had assumed that route had been sitting in the top drawer of all team bosses since the Leafs last one in 1967. No wonder the team hasn't won in almost half a century: It never dawned on anybody to map out a parade route.
What kind of message did that send to the players?
“I have it planned out and it’s going to be fantastic,” Leiweke told Bloomberg on Monday.
Leiweke, whose last stop involved overseeing the Los Angeles Kings first Stanley Cup, said MLSE employees were a little taken aback at his boldness -- or maybe they had trouble imagining a parade that wasn't in black-and-white.
But he said he told them that, “If you can all dream about that and get that in your mind, we’ll have something we’re all driven toward."
Again, Leaf fans were apparently living under the delusion illusion that the team was aiming for a Stanley Cup. So now that's out in the open, there's nowhere to go but up, right?
Leiweke told Bloomberg that it was the sorry state of MLSE's properties -- the sad-sack Leafs, bumbling Raptors and perennially inept TFC soccer team -- that drew him north.
“If the teams were doing well, I wouldn’t have come,” he said. “What intrigued me the most is the opportunity to have an organization here that can aspire to be much more successful and a greater brand than it currently is.”
Leiweke spoke of his confidence in Leafs GM Dave Nonis and offered that the team's stunning playoff collapse against Boston might have been the best thing that could have happened.
“I think they need a few ass-kickings, and that’s one that will stay with them for a long time,” he said of the players. “I think it will pay huge dividends in the long term no matter how painful it was.”
He also spoke of the pain that Raptors fans may have to suffer through for at least another year. As hard as it may be be imagine, the basketball team could be even worse next season, he implied.
The owners “are very aware that we may ultimately have to, excuse my English, suck to be good,” he said. “They understand they’re going to have to be patient there.”
No offence, but the Raptors have sucked for several years and still are nowhere near good.
But patience shouldn't be a problem. If there's one thing fans of MLSE teams have demonstrated, it's that when it comes to patience, Job was a rank amateur.
- Sports & Recreation
- Tim Leiweke