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.