Report: John Cassaday to replace Tim Leiweke as MLSE president and CEO


According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, John Cassaday appears to be the man to replace out-going Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment president and CEO Tim Leiweke.

Leiweke, who joined MLSE in April 2013 on a reported five-year contract, is scheduled to leave the company on June 30.

MLSE is the parent company of the Toronto Maple Leafs among others.

Cassaday recently retired as president and CEO of Toronto-based radio and television broadcaster, Corus Entertainment.

“Cassaday is a proven leader,” said a person close to the MLSE board told TSN’s Rick Westhead in October. “He has handled a publicly traded company in Corus, its board and family ownership issues flawlessly. He is stable. A sure hand on the tiller. And he’s mature and knows how to manage divisions and factions within a company. And he’s Canadian and probably is looking for a change before he retires.”

Westhead reports Cassaday’s deal with MLSE could be in the neighborhood of $2.5 million per year, plus bonuses on a three-year deal.

Former Madison Square Garden executive Hank Ratner, NHL executive John Collins and former CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon were all reportedly candidates for the job.

MLSE chairman Larry Tanenbaum told The Globe and Mail “We’re close” when asked about naming a replacement for Leiweke on Thursday.

Cassaday could be announced as early as next week.

Report: Leiweke to head up Olympic bid in Los Angeles

Tim Leiweke

A day after it was confirmed that Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment President and CEO Tim Leiweke would leave the organization by June 2015, we may have more clarity on the 57-year-old’s next move.

According to TSN’s Gord Miller, reports have Leiweke is going back to Los Angeles to head up an Olympic bid for 2024, which would also include an NFL stadium.

Leiweke, who joined MLSE in June 2013, moved to Toronto after holding a similar role with AEG, which owns the Los Angeles Kings and Staples Center among others.


Joffrey Lupul is tired of being locked out of restaurants too

Joffrey Lupul

It’s not easy being a locked out NHL player. You can’t use team facilities to work out. You can’t use team ice to practice. You can’t use anything that has to do with your team, period.

Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul found out, as the National Post’s Sean Fitz-Gerald notes, that also means not getting reservations at Real Sports, a sports bar next to Air Canada Centre in Toronto. He took his complaints to Twitter for good measure.

Real Sports is run by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the same company that runs the Leafs, Raptors, Marlies, and Toronto FC soccer club. Apparently that means they can’t associate with any of the NHL players because of the lockout as well.

And here you thought the lockout couldn’t get any sillier. Maybe next time Lupul, or any other player who might want to go tip a few back there, can make a reservation under a fake name. I hear Abe Froman is a good name to use in Chicago.

Columnist: New owners don’t mean championships for Leafs

Larry Tanenbaum; Nadir Mohamed; George Cope; Jane Rowe
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The reviews of the new owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs are rolling in, and they’re not all positive.

The Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts is one of the skeptics, openly wondering if BCE Inc. and Rogers Communications will get the Leafs any closer to a Stanley Cup championship. And more importantly, if the two corporate giants will care if they don’t.

Shoalts makes reference to the comments made by the two CEOs – Nadir Mohamed ( Rogers) and George Cope (BCE) – at today’s press conference.

“It’s the perfect marriage of content and distribution,” Mohamed said. “Our goal is to leverage content and distribution. This is having access to iconic content.”

Cope chimed in with, “I am 100 per cent convinced the Bell shareholders will make money on their network investments.”

Essentially Shoalts is saying, “That’s great you guys are going to make a lot of money, but what about winning a Stanley Cup?”

It’s a worthwhile question to ask, although I’m not sure it’s a huge concern with a hard salary cap. It’s not very likely BCE and Rogers are going to chisel the Leafs down to the cap floor. Given the potential playoff revenue bonanza, it’s probably worth spending as much money as the CBA allows.

Shoalts points to Rogers’ ownership of the Blue Jays as evidence the company isn’t willing to spend the money to win championships. However, MLB doesn’t have a salary cap and the Jays are stuck in a division with the Yankees and Red Sox. It doesn’t make a ton of financial sense to try and outspend those two clubs.

Where I’d agree with Shoalts is that the focus of the press conference should’ve been on winning championships, not making money. The Leafs have already made plenty of money. They haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967.

Done deal: MLSE sold to Bell/Rogers for $1.3 billion


It was just a report last night, but today the Maple Leafs have been sold.

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund have sold their majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to Rogers Sportsnet and Bell Canada for a whopping $1.3 billion. The partnership is an awkward one as Bell and Rogers are competitors in communications. Bell also owns a small part of the Montreal Canadiens on top of it all. No, they won’t be forced to divest their interest there. That should make Habs-Leafs games a bit more fun.

How this affects the future of the Leafs (as well as MLSE’s other sports interests) will be curious. Will Bell and Rogers amp up their interest in running the Leafs to try and generate more money for the team by taking a keener interest in how they do? Will the new owners treat the Leafs as a cash cow that effortlessly makes money for them?

After the executive board room way of life the Ontario Teachers seemed to do things, seeing a two-headed monster with a direct interest in how well the Leafs perform will be fascinating to watch.