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SBD/August 22, 2014/Franchises
Despite Short Tenure, Leiweke's Fingerprints All Over Toronto FC, Raptors Turnarounds
Published August 22, 2014
HATCHING DINOSAUR EGGS: In Toronto, Ryan Wolstat writes it is "hard to imagine the Raptors not being worse off" in the post-Leiweke era, as they "took major steps forward" with him at the helm. At the "micro level, Leiweke headed a full-court press" to land President of Basketball Operations & GM Masai Ujiri, and he also was "all over the successful bid" to bring the '16 NBA All-Star Game to Toronto. Leiweke "focused and cared about making the Raptors a long-term factor and contender in the NBA world." He did "not treat the Raptors as a poor cousin to the Maple Leafs or an afterthought" (TORONTO SUN, 8/22). The TORONTO STAR's Smith writes hiring Ujiri was Leiweke's "most significant move." It was his "biggest and his first, one that should resonate for years." Leiweke's "aggressive nature" gave Ujiri "the feeling he could do whatever was necessary to get the franchise headed in the right direction" (TORONTO STAR, 8/22).
THE NEXT ICE AGE: In Toronto, Mike Zeisberger writes under the header, "Leiweke's Legacy With Maple Leafs Can't Be Determined Yet." Zeisberger: "Fans truly will not know the footprint Leiweke left on the Leafs’ topsy-turvy history" until the era of new President Brendan Shanahan "has either produced heroes or zeroes" (TORONTO SUN, 8/22). Also in Toronto, Mark Zwolinski writes, "Of all the MLSE sports team properties the Leafs are the least affected by Leiweke’s departure" (TORONTO STAR, 8/22). Meanwhile, CFL Argonauts Owner David Braley said that Leiweke's departure doesn't mean the end of negotiations" to sell the team or move it to BMO Field (TORONTO STAR, 8/22).