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Leafs CEO Leiweke wants Toronto to host all major NHL events in 2017

Jul 14, 2014, 8:35 PM EDT

Tim Leiweke AP

When 2017 rolls around, it’ll mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the team’s CEO wants to celebrate it in style.

Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke wants Toronto to play host to the Winter Classic, NHL All-Star Game and NHL Draft in 2017 to help celebrate the organization’s birthday as Luke Fox at Sportsnet shared.

“It’s not a splash. I just think Toronto—it’s our 100th anniversary, and this is the greatest hockey city on Earth. I think we owe it to our fans. And we’re telling the league that they owe it to our fans,” Leiweke said. “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.”

The issue with the Winter Classic hopes rest with the lack of an available stadium to play host. Rogers Center, home of the Toronto Blue Jays and Argonauts, isn’t available and BMO Field, home of the MLS’ Toronto FC, currently isn’t large enough for the Winter Classic. MLSE has gotten $10 million from the City of Toronto to help with expansion but construction has yet to begin. There’s also a host of other teams that would like to host the Winter Classic. Toronto may have a hard time nailing that one down.

As for the All-Star Game and NHL Draft, the Leafs only have to look to what the league did for the Montreal Canadiens in 2009 as that franchise celebrated it’s 100th anniversary. Bell Centre played host to both the All-Star Game and draft that year.

Toronto would also like to play host for the World Cup of Hockey but that event hasn’t even been made official yet. If/when that gets nailed down, it’s likely going to take place in 2016 and Toronto will very likely play host to part of it.

  1. Wineshard - Jul 14, 2014 at 8:44 PM

    That quote shows why many fans hate the Leafs. Rather than patting his own fans on the back, he essentially insults all other fans as being inferior.

    • dueman - Jul 14, 2014 at 9:29 PM

      You see, this is the typical “hater” take on his remark. It’s all about perception. You say that “Rather than patting his own fans on the back, he essentially insults all other fans as being inferior” – Could you please tell me what it is that he said, that made “all other fans as being inferior?” What he actually did, WAS in fact, “pat his own team’s fans on the back” and that IS what you took as offensive. When Montreal did this for their 100th, did it make you feel inferior? Of course not, but if Toronto does it, it’s a different story all together though, eh? What makes me laugh is that it really doesn’t matter what, or how, Toronto says, or does, there are always going to be people like you who try to rationalize their hate for this team as being just, when in reality, it’s simply juvenile, and trivial at best. Go ahead and run with it though if it get’s you through the day….cheers.

      • thomasvanek - Jul 14, 2014 at 9:43 PM

        “And we’re telling the league that they owe it to our fans” That is what pissed me off the most. I hated the city and its fans before this anyway. You guys are full of yourselves.

      • dueman - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:04 PM

        You must really hate the part where the league says that “They don’t disagree” then, eh? lol Thank you though thomasvanek for giving yet another example of the “hater perspective” – You said “I hated the city and its fans before this anyway. You guys are full of yourselves.” – I’m a fan, so I guess that you hate me. You don’t know me, but you hate me. (makes sense right?) It must be tough to carry around all that hate. Just to let you know…I don’t hate you. (makes sense, because I don’t know you…) Actually, I can only name one person that I actually hate, and that is because this person wronged my family in a very bad and personal way (which I won’t get into here), but just carrying hate for that one person is very tiring to tell you the truth, so I really can’t imagine how hard it must be to hate an entire city, it’s hockey team, and it’s entire fan base…even though you don’t even know a fraction of those people. I will never understand why people make comments like you just made, because the whole idea of hating an entire teams fan base is absolutely ridiculous. Maybe one day you will realize that your labeling of all Leaf fans as “full of themselves” is just your way of trying to rationalize your blind hatred, which in reality, is based on nothing at all. Maybe spend a little more time following your own team to enjoy the sport more, and less time visiting Leaf stories, simply to leave hateful comments…..You might smile more! Have a good night dude…

      • beergold - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:27 PM

        “Oh look at us the biggest and richest franchise in the NHL that does not give a flying frig about putting a NHL quality on ice product together but give us the big league show cause we say so!” Dooman….. it is putzka’s like you that keep this joke that is called the Leafs alive as a second rate nobody worth there salt wants to play there franchise. Get out of your mothers basement and off your best friend Phil’s motorscooter and see the team for what they are…money grabbing SOB’s!

      • rmccleary97 - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:03 AM

        “They don’t disagree” could easily be re-phrased as “they didn’t tell us no.”

      • thomasvanek - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:03 AM

        Are you really this stupid. When somebody says that they hate a fanbase it is talking about how they are in the relm of that sport. Only a buffoon would take the word hate literally on the internet. You are a prime example of why I say you people are full of yourselves. You tried to dissect my comment and give me a moral spanking with it when in reality you are taking it way to far and you look like an idiot in doing so.

      • kaptaanamerica - Jul 15, 2014 at 3:13 AM

        ThomasVanek/ BeerGold, you are 100% correct. it’s worse if you actually live in Toronto, which i have for many years… I only started to cheer for and like the Habs, a team I used to hate, because of the attitude of Leafs fans like dueman…

      • dueman - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:18 AM

        Would you look at that, my comment brought out the trifecta of Leaf haters who can be found on pretty much every Leaf article spewing out hateful nonsense, the Vancouver fan, the Buffalo fan, and the Habs fan. You guys should try talking hockey one day…you might even like it. Have a nice day…

      • thomasvanek - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:15 PM

        dueman, you are in denial. It is easy to just shove us away as haters, but that is the cowardly way out. Instead of thinking that maybe you guys may be a bit self centered you just think that everyone who isn’t a leafs fan is wrong about you guys (which only proves the self centered thing further).

      • dueman - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:54 AM

        thomasvanek – This is the last reply that I’m going to write you, because I really don’t think that I’ll get through to you no matter what I say, but this last time I’m just going to point out a few things to you. I’ve never had a straight up conversation with you before on this site so there was no previous animosity between us, but your first ever comment to me contained this little snippet – “I hated the city and its fans before this anyway. You guys are full of yourselves.” -When I responded to your comment, I did not attack you in any way what so ever. I didn’t call you any names, I didn’t poke fun at, or insult you, or your team, in fact I was quite polite, especially considering the comment, that you wrote, which I was responding to.

        You then responded by saying that I took your simple, and straight forward comment too literal. You also called me stupid, a buffoon for taking what you said as what you said, and that I looked like an idiot for doing so. You also repeated part of what you said in the first place (You know, the comment that I took too literal!) when you said – “You are a prime example of why I say you people are full of yourselves” Then when I called you out as Leaf hater, you responded by calling me a self centered coward who is in denial (of what I’m not sure, because I never made any claims)

        Like I said, I never attacked you, and yet, all that you did, was attack me, called me names, and insulted me, for nothing more than being a Leaf fan, but hey…You’re not a hater, right! Once again, have a good night dude…

    • blomfeld - Jul 14, 2014 at 10:34 PM

      FU Lewinsky !!!

      Before running around like a little girl in a candy store ‘demanding’ everything in sight, this jerk should try shoring up his ‘pathetic’ excuse for a team ! In fact, this is especially insulting, given the sheer ‘wealth’ of the Ontario market and the ‘unwavering’ loyalty of hockey fans living there.

      Say again … FU Lewinsky !!!

      • kaptaanamerica - Jul 15, 2014 at 3:15 AM

        it’s the hockey fans that make that team so annoying and easy to hate… and the attitude of lewicke reflects the fans… i think. if anyplace is like Mordor, it’d be toronto….

      • obamareallysucks - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:32 PM

        FU clinton

  2. c9castine - Jul 14, 2014 at 8:47 PM

    thats about as arrogant as it gets.

    not surprising coming out of Toronto

  3. rushledger - Jul 14, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    Well I know they won’t be hosting any Stanley Cup games! Heyoooooo I’ll be here all week!

    • 101starmymedic - Jul 14, 2014 at 9:13 PM

      Lmao

      • bigoldorcafromvan - Jul 14, 2014 at 10:16 PM

        Wasn.t it about Nov 2014 when this clown said he was planning the SC parade in downtown Toronto?

      • bigoldorcafromvan - Jul 14, 2014 at 10:18 PM

        OPPS… 2013

    • missthemexpos - Jul 14, 2014 at 9:16 PM

      50 years since their last Stanley Cup is reason enough to host all the events.

      • 19to77 - Jul 16, 2014 at 10:42 AM

        “Celebrate how bad we suck!” is not a good reason to do anything.

  4. raleighcaniac - Jul 14, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    He calls Toronto ‘the greatest hockey city on earth?’ Try ‘greatest losing hockey city on earth in modern times.’ I doubt Leaf management could organize a party in a liquor store.

    • elrock7 - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:07 PM

      all you jealous, bitter little people, with giant cases of envy for the city of Toronto.

      I have been to Raleigh, and trust me, you wouldn’t want to stay long!

  5. raleighcaniac - Jul 14, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    He calls Toronto ‘the greatest hockey city on earth?’ Try ‘greatest losing hockey city on earth in modern times.’ I doubt Leaf management is capable of organizing a party in a liquor store.

    • raleighcaniac - Jul 14, 2014 at 8:56 PM

      My bad. Double post by accident. I guess I qualify for Leaf employment…

      • stcrowe - Jul 14, 2014 at 10:31 PM

        Hitting two posts in a row would qualify you for the Leafs powerplay.

      • dueman - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        stcrowe – That one was good…gave me a laugh.

      • kaptaanamerica - Jul 15, 2014 at 3:18 AM

        it’s so true, it had to be written twice… even the internet was with you on that one :-)

  6. anthj99 - Jul 14, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    Ok, I guess every team gets every event on their 100th anniversary.

  7. 19to77 - Jul 14, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    No, what you owe your fans is a passable goddamn hockey team. Should maybe try to get working on that.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:49 PM

      Indeed. I don’t care about the draft or the awards show. There really is no proper venue for a great outdoor game.
      As a fan since the early 1960s, all I want is for them to host Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. And a parade several days later. That’s all.

  8. c9castine - Jul 14, 2014 at 9:15 PM

    these guys havent won a championship since the league underwent real expansion (1967+). it just so happens 2017 will also be the 50th anniversary of the “greatest hockey citiy on earth’s” last win.

    even philly has won since them.

    why dont we celebrate that by giving them nothing and waiting till they put a product on the ice that everybody can enjoy.

    • beergold - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:45 PM

      Or until franchise man Kessel learns to backcheck! The ownership does not give a rats butt about on ice product….look at what they have done over the summer nothing and no player worth his salt wants to be there!

  9. heynyc61 - Jul 14, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    Give them all the events. Got no problem with it but they do not have an outdoor stadium anywhere big enough to do a winter classic

  10. guitarmy204 - Jul 14, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    Is he going to take time away from planning their Stanley cup parade?

  11. justanotherphillyfan - Jul 14, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Problem with this picture is…

    What if you’d agree to all those events and they also get very lucky that year by winning the cup.

    That would look very ugly for the NHL in general.

  12. hieronymous27 - Jul 14, 2014 at 9:46 PM

    Hey folks, go easy on the Maple a Leafs. When you haven’t done jack for almost half a century, all you can do is wax nostalgic about what a great franchise you were before 75% of your fan base had even been conceived. Maple Leaf fans are the most easily duped fans on the face of the earth. The line up each season to purchase what few tickets are available for whatever game they can get their hands on and then watch the same blue & white pig slop take to the ice and embarrass themselves.

    • dueman - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:15 PM

      Maple Leaf fans aren’t easily duped, we are just loyal to our team. Why that bothers so many people, I’ll never understand…

      • beergold - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:36 PM

        Keep playing with your p p Dooman you will get more out of it than watching Kessel backcheck!

  13. Wineshard - Jul 14, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    He uses the word “owe” and then says they (the league) don’t disagree with his assertion. But hey, why stop at Earth? He should have used Universe perhaps?

    If you don’t see the arrogance and entitlement then you are blind.

  14. alicesrightfootesq - Jul 14, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    I was totally okay with this until I read that quote.

  15. cutelittleguy02 - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:03 PM

    It s fair. It s Toronto turn now. 100 yo for the biggest nhl team in North America. Sound fair.

    • beergold - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:39 PM

      If you had an ownership that cared about a NHL calibre on ice team maybe…the Leafs don’t so frig them!

  16. chanceoffleury - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:33 AM

    The Leafs may be *the* most arrogant organization in north american sports. Take the Yankees, Sox, my beloved Steelers, the Lakers, Duke Basketball, Alabama Football, the Patriots. I mean, yeah, their players, owners, other personnel, and fans are regularly saying or doing things that make anybody outside their fanbases’ roll their eyes, but for the most part those organizations within the last 10-15 years at least can back up their hype with success in their designated league. The Leafs height of success comes in 1 divisional title within the last 50 years and not a single finals appearance, let alone a stanley cup finals win. That’s sad. Before the Leafs demand a big celebration of their greatness, they should put a product on the ice that fans under the age of 40 will find worthy of celebrating.

    The league doesn’t owe them anything. And it’s a bad habit to get into anyway. What are their plans for 2026? The Wings, Hawks,and Rangers all turn 100 that year. It’s like spoiling your first 3 children by letting them have whatever they want and then getting to the younger ones and being like “oh, well, we were sorta hoping you’d just settle for this less exciting thing instead since we didn’t plan ahead”. I feel like they should just put the kibosh on it before other teams start to cry about it. Give them the draft and allstar game, but it doesn’t make sense to host the Classic in Canada until they have the venues to do it, anyway. How are they gonna make BMO Field capable of holding that type of event? The crowd size wouldn’t even be comparable to where the bar’s been set for it. The seats will be so limited that scalpers will probably eat the tickets up and the real fans won’t even be able to afford the tickets anyway. I must have missed something though, why isn’t Rogers Centre available anyway? It has a functioning retractable roof, no?

  17. hawkeedawg - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:45 AM

    OK everyone take a deep breath, relax, put on your “Non-bias hockey fan” glasses and see this for all that it is worth.

    Any team reaching a “Milestone Year” will want the league to do something for them.

    Nothing wrong with that, not arrogant, just wanting a big celebration whether it is a 100 year old original six team, or the 25th anniversary of a franchise.

    Half of the organizations that get the All Star game and the Draft have been awarded because they made a good pitch to the league why they should get it.

    No news here, just bias fans that can’t relate to a special anniversary.

    PS> I hate the Leafs, I have 5 brothers that live there and are all Leaf fans.

  18. nhstateline - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    Look at the amount of revenue the Leafs generate for the League, there’s no question they should make a big splash for their anniversary but it should be the same as what the Habs got then both of them should get to host a Winter Classic. The Leafs are asking for something that the Habs didn’t get and they shouldn’t get that as part of their anniversary (but they should get one). The All Star Game and the Draft ? Sure, why not ? And both Canadian cities would be awesome places to host a Winter Classic. And I’m a Bruin fan so I’m not biased to either of these teams but I do think they have great fans and distinguished histories and those should be honored. If course once the games start and they’re playing the Bruins, well I might have some other things to say about them but it’s July right now so we can all get along.

    • lakeshoreleafsfan - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:47 AM

      I’d like it that if Toronto were to host the Winter Classic, my personal choice on who the Leafs play against would be Montreal. The rivalry and the history of it (while not as intense as it once was) is as long as the NHL itself. But Leafs-Habs Winter Classic might not make NBC happy, so my second choice would be Boston Bruins (Original Six battle) OR Chicago Blackhawks (Original Six from the West playing against an original Six from the East) One of the last two might make NBC happy, if they had any say at all. But then again, you never know, NBC might surprise us all and agree with the Leafs-Habs Winter Classic

  19. nyrnashty - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    I think it’s a great idea…they’ll host everything except for the Stanley Cup Finals that year!

  20. lakeshoreleafsfan - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    Yeah, in the season that the Maple Leafs are celebrating 100, the NHL is also celebrating it’s 100. Don’t you think that the league will be having season-long celebrations in every NHL arena? Of course they will. But the Maple Leafs is the only franchise that will be 100 at the same time, so if we can get the events that Tim Leiweke is asking for, so what? So, it’s okay for every other franchise to showcase their Centennial with major NHL events, but not Toronto?

    People’s hatred for everything Toronto is not only juvenile, but there is no logical and rational reasoning for it—except just to say you hate the Leafs and Toronto. Every NHL team will have events for the NHL’s 100th Anniversary, including Toronto, so let us celebrate our Centennial on top of the NHL’s Centennail as we wish. If that includes the Winter Classic, All-Star game, and the Draft, so be it

    When Boston Bruins celebrate their Centennial in 2024, they can have the events that Toronto may get for their celebrations too

  21. djshnooks - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    The greatest hockey city on earth?

    But their moving the combine to Buffalo, who probably has a better win percentage than Toronto over the last 20 years or so.

    Their city doesn’t deserve it anymore than any other NHL city…especially the NHL city’s who don’t elect crackheads as mayor.

    • elrock7 - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:14 PM

      The greater Toronto area also produces more NHLers, than all others put together. Look at the roster of your favorite team and you will know Toronto IS the GREATEST hockey city!

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