Depending on who you ask in Toronto, the announcement today that Maple Leafs president and CEO Richard Peddie is retiring at the end of 2011 is either a moment to be sad or a moment to rejoice. Peddie has been with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment since 1996 and while the organization has grown and been a huge money producer in Toronto since then, the Maple Leafs hockey team has been mired in failure, something which Peddie is seen as the figurehead for everything that’s gone wrong, especially since John Ferguson Jr. went away.
While Leafs GM Brian Burke is the brash face of the organization now and willing takes his lumps in the media, Peddie is sometimes cast as the “wacky” and occasionally clueless owner in that he comments every now and then on the state of the Leafs and what he says doesn’t often match up with what’s actually going on on the ice.
For now though, Leafs fans that felt like Peddie is more the impediment to success than a means to achieving it have every reason to be excited by this news. Then again, with big organizations like MLSE having one suit step away often means replacing them with a like-minded suit of their own. Enthusiasm should be tempered.