Raptors Dir of Communications Tom Mayenknecht is reportedly
leaving the team to take a position with the rival Grizzlies,
according to reports in Canada this morning.  Sources close to
the Raptors confirmed last night that Mayenknecht, 35, "has given
the Raptors notice and has been hired" as a Grizzlies VP.  He
could begin his new job by the middle of February.  There had
been "unsubstantiated rumors recently" that Mayenknecht and team
VP Isiah Thomas did not "see eye-to-eye on several issues,
including the hiring of a team media relations employee" (Craig
Daniels, TORONTO SUN, 2/3).  Mayenknecht is seen as a "key piece
of the management puzzle" for the Northwest Arena Corp., the
company that runs the Grizzlies, Canucks, and the new GM Place.
Mayenknecht, who was the first executive employee hired by the
team, was one of the Raptors' "most visible" employees during
their drive to sell the NBA mandated 12,500 season tickets (Neil
Campbell, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/3).
     OTHER NEWS:  Grizzlies Owner Arthur Griffiths and his
partners still owe the NBA US$112M in expansion money, and the
falling Canadian dollar has Griffiths "keeping his fingers
crossed." Griffiths said of the exchange rate: "Last week would
have been ugly, this week is better and hopefully by April it'll
be even better."  The dollar's recovery this week meant a "swing"
of about C$3M on the expansion fee.  Also, the Grizzlies received
their prototype uniforms, but they are not ready to unveil them.
GM Stu Jackson: "We'd like to have the release more closely tied
to when we can actually merchandise the uniform.  And it does
need some tweaking" (Gary Kingston, VANCOUVER SUN, 2/3).
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