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.
Ryan Wolstat: Leiweke leaving as per @FriedgeHNIC is somehow both stunning and not so much. Rumour always was he was primarily after NFL team
The points were driven home at a sit down on the eve of training camp with MLSE minority shareholder Larry Tanenbaum, president and chief executive officer Tim Leiweke and general manager Masai Ujiri. “Everything got put on the table, to be honest,” says Lowry. We all showed our hands, spoke honestly and that was that. “I told him I could play for him and he could coach me. That was a big thing for both of us: he coaches, I play and that’s it.”
“There’s a really special bond between [GM] Masai [Ujiri] and Kyle,” Leiweke said. “This town should be in love with this guy. What a great story. He’s vented that anger and energy that he had last year, and it was sometimes aimed at the refs, sometimes aimed at other people. He’s figured out how to vent that and put that into the team, and this team truly loves each other.”
Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment group that owns the Raptors, answered affirmatively when CBC TV host George Stroumboulopoulos asked him whether the team can and will re-sign point guard Kyle Lowry (video link; scroll ahead to 5:50 mark). The point guard is set to hit unrestricted free agency this summer, and ever since the team came close to trading him to the Knicks in December, there’s been little certainty about Toronto’s plans. Leiweke’s answers today offer the strongest indication yet that Toronto intends to retain Lowry.
A report Monday said a black and gold scheme has emerged as a contender and that makes sense, since global ambassador Drake has built his OVO brand around those colours. An advertisement on raptors.com for “Drake Night” at the ACC on Jan. 11 depicts a black and gold Raptors logo beside Drake’s similarly coloured owl trademark. When asked if the black and gold scheme is the current leading contender, Leiweke told the Sun: “We are looking at a few different ideas.” One of them would be a blue and white look, to tie in with the Maple Leafs and Blue Jays. Multiple sources said they have seen mockups featuring the black and gold design.
The Raptors continue to work on a rebrand either in time for the 2015-16 campaign, when Toronto plays host to the all-star game. A name change has been ruled out, even though new Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president and CEO Tim Leiweke was initially in favour of such a move, but the colours surely will be getting an overhaul.
“When I look at the person he is and the hard work he puts in, for me he deserves the opportunity to coach the team,” Ujiri said before training camp kicked off.
At the end of the year, at least partly out of self-preservation, Colangelo chained himself to Casey … and was promptly fired (or re-assigned, if you prefer the vague language of press releases). New Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president and CEO Tim Leiweke brought in Masai Ujiri from Denver to replace Colangelo, and it seemed likely Ujiri would hire his own coach. “Anytime you have change like that, it’s always unsettling,” Casey said in a one-on-one interview on Wednesday evening. “I wasn’t the only one in the organization in that situation. It was unsettling.”
At a press conference Monday announcing the 2016 All-Star Game coming to Toronto, chairman Tim Leiweke said the team would not be changing its name, though. They would, however, be submitting an application to the league to change their colors and logos. Leiweke said he was in favor of changing the name, but was outvoted.
Well, it was an interesting hour, not horribly enlightening but interesting, that a group of us got to spend with Tim Leiweke and a few of his Henchpeople on Friday morning when he visited with our editorial board. The one thing that stood out to me, and I don’t think I’m talking too much out of turn here, is that he says he realizes now that he’s not the story, nor the focus and that, yes, he probably came off a bit brusque and a bit — I think was his word — bullish – in his first few weeks on the job.
And the one thing I was glad to hear was him suggest that he indeed didn’t treat Bryan Colangelo as well as he should have when that departure was happening. I think Tim’s over-exuberance at making the change atop HOTH World got a bit in the way, his excitement to start something new with Masai Ujiri made it look like he was gleeful at dumping Bryan and a couple of shots that were taken were actually regrettable.
A league source told CBSSports.com that Colangelo was at odds with Tim Leiweke, who was named named president and CEO of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment in April. In his statement released by the team, Colangelo mentioned directors Larry Tanenbaum and Dale Lastman, as well as MLSE ownership, but did not mention Leiweke by name.
Well, if Tim Leiweke wanted to make significant changes to get away from the Raptors past, he’s picked the right guy to fire. In what I think is a terribly short-sighted move that will rankle as many people as anything he does, Leiweke has told Alvin Williams that his services are no longer required. Yep, the chief executive officer of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment – on the job for less than a month – has jettisoned one of the great guys ever associated with the franchise and a man who wanted nothing more than to spend his entire career with the organization in some way, shape or form. Alvin had spent last season scouting for the team, based out of Philadelphia, but he was far, far more than just an employee picking up a cheque.
Tim Leiweke: On potentially changing the Raptors’ name: “We’re definitely going to take a look at it. It doesn’t mean we’re committed to it. It means it’s a good conversation. I saw those generic uniforms today in the paper. … That won’t be the uniform, by the way. I can assure you of that. I think we need to have this conversation.”
Tim Leiweke, the new CEO of the Raps’ ownership conglomerate, concluded that Colangelo was not the right guy to make those future moves. Now he just has to find a replacement, one who is willing to work with Colangelo hovering nearby, input at the ready. This is an attractive job in some ways. The Raps have been a high-payroll team, and they’ve indicated they are willing to exceed the luxury tax by a significant margin if doing so helps Colangelo’s successor build a winner, according to multiple league sources.