Leiweke Apologizes For Talking About Taking Down Old Maple Leafs Photos
MLSE President & CEO Tim Leiweke said that he "meant no disrespect towards former players in talking about taking down photos of past Maple Leafs" at Air Canada Centre, according to Neil Davidson of the CP. But he also is "not backing down on the concept of focusing on the present rather than the past." Leiweke yesterday said, "I'm not here to stomp on the alumni. One of the reasons anyone wants to come and be a part of this organization is the history and tradition of the Maple Leafs. ... So this is not a debate nor is it meant in any way to criticize or minimize our history. It was never meant to do that. And for that I’m extremely apologetic, because I don’t want the alumni thinking there was any debate there. It was just a simple concept, which is at some point or another this team in its current form and fashion has to create its own legacy. And we need not to hide behind other things. That’s all." Leiweke added, "We dig our own ditches. So I’ve dug my own ditch here" (CP, 7/22). In Toronto, Steve Simmons wrote under the header, "Leiweke Is A Fool For Wanting To Erase History." The "inadvertent insult" by Leiweke "cannot go unnoticed." Leiweke "wants to make it about now and about him" and "displays a disrespect and disregard for all of us who value history" (TORONTO SUN, 7/21).
GETTING PEOPLE IN THE SEATS: Leiweke was asked about his plans to address the late-arriving crowds for Leafs games and said, "We have to find a way to make sure that people want to be in their seats in the beginning of each and every period, to be a part of what this team’s trying to create.” But he added that the "problem is not restricted to Toronto," as fans in L.A. are "sometimes late taking their seats." Leiweke: "I think it’s upon us as an organization to build an atmosphere where people want to be out there and they don’t want to miss a minute of the game. And we’re going to try to do that" (CP, 7/22).
KICKSTART FC? In Toronto, Steve Buffery wrote MLSE "continues to choke the life out of a sure-thing" in MLS Toronto FC. The franchise is "still kicking," but is "a shadow of what it once was." The "problem is, this franchise has never really improved." Rarely has an owner "let a fan base down as much as MLSE has let down TFC supporters." MLSE has "to get this franchise back on track," for the "sake of their incredibly loyal fans" (TORONTO SUN, 7/21)