Tim Leiweke Rumors
The CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment will step down next year. The company announced Thursday that Tim Leiweke will stay until June 30 or a successor is appointed. The MLSE properties include the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors and Toronto FC. Leiweke, who joined the group in April 2013, says he plans to own and operate his own business. In his short tenure, Leiweke helped Toronto land the 2016 NBA All-Star game, fired Toronto FC’s president and general manager Kevin Payne and brought in former star player Brendan Shanahan as president of the Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs missed the playoffs last spring, but the Raptors returned to the postseason for the first time in six years. Toronto FC is in third place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Leiweke predicted Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri will be pleased with the decision. “I think the happiest man is Masai,” Leiweke said. “He made this his number one priority and he told me if I didn’t get this done, he was going to kick me out of town. It is a good day for Masai and the team. I think the players in particular are going to be really pleased. They deserve a world-class facility.”
Leiweke wants it ready in time for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game in Toronto. “I think this is great for the sport and as you look around the country and you look around our city in particular you begin to see that this is a sport that is very attractive to the majority of people who live in the city,” Leiweke said after the vote.
The Toronto Raptors are one council vote away from a new practice facility at Exhibition Place. Councillors on the executive committee unanimously approved Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment’s plan to build a $30-million practice centre at the city-owned site. MLSE president and CEO Tim Leiweke outlined the plans for the building — currently the site of a parking lot — to the committee.
All this buzz prompted MLSE to email a denial to media outlets less than half an hour later. “Any report stating that I am leaving MLSE is untrue. We are completely focused on the seasons at hand and I am not thinking of anything else but that. I am proud of all that we have accomplished here over the past year, but we have much more to do,” Leiweke said in the statement.