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CANADIAN NEWS & NOTES: RIVALRY DEVELOPING IN TORONTO
Published October 8, 1996
Noting the Maple Leafs are "facing real live competition in the [Toronto] sports marketplace" for the first time, Stephen Brunt of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL writes the Raptors and Leafs are "jockeying" for fan support "right in front of the paying public." Brunt credits Raptors Exec VP Isiah Thomas for his "boldness" and "creativity" in not making "expansion excuses" last season and buying the franchise more "fan patience." Brunt: "The Raptors are trying to get better, fast, which might make things just a little bit uncomfortable for a hockey team that at this moment seems on the verge of entering yet another ownership- driven dark ages" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/8). REMEMBER, COTTON SHRINKS: A "rumor" that the Leafs plan to "overhaul" their logo and sweater in two years when they hope to move into a new arena was denied by Leafs Dir of Business Ops/Communications Bob Stellick, according to Lance Hornby of the TORONTO SUN. Hornby writes the "classic" Leaf currently featured on the shoulder patch could become the "dominant crest," with the new team logo moved to the shoulder. The change could also see the color black added to the current blue and white. The Leafs' Stellick said, "Not true. We're told by the league our sweater is already in the top four or five sellers. ... We have a sweater that's never gone out of style and we're happy with it" (TORONTO STAR, 10/8). EXTINCT IN HALIFAX? The Raptors are "threatening" not to play any more pre-season games in Halifax because of "sluggish" ticket sales for Friday's game with the Hawks, according to Bill Harris of the TORONTO SUN. Harris adds ticket sales are also "very slow" for pre-season contests against the Knicks in Ottawa and the Heat in Buffalo. Raptors VP/Events & Operations Brian Cooper, on sales: "We're perplexed. It's one of the hotbeds of basketball in Canada." Only 7,000 tickets have been sold for the Knicks game and "whispers" suggest the Heat matchup is in the "worst shape of all" (TORONTO SUN, 10/8).