The Toronto Maple Leafs will be celebrating their 100th birthday throughout the year of 2017. As apart of their celebration plans, the team and city are reportedly wanting to host all of the NHL’s big events. That list includes the NHL Draft, the Winter Classic, the All-Star Game and the World Cup of Hockey, which is supposed to return in 2016.
The Leafs’ interest in hosting all of the events, as seen in a report on Sportsnet.ca, stems from a desire to reward fans of the “Greatest hockey city on Earth.” The report quotes Tim Leiweke, CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, and details the interest in bidding for all of the above events.
“It’s not a splash. I just think Toronto—it’s our 100th anniversary, and this is the greatest hockey city on Earth. I think we owe it to our fans. And we’re telling the league that they owe it to our fans. They don’t disagree, but we’ve got to go through a process to win it. I think we’ll win it. I think we’ll get there. But we got to go bid on it.”
Toronto is trying to do it big for their 100th. No one is going to blame them, but there’s absolutely no chance they’re going to be awarded all four of the league’s biggest events. They’ll probably secure one, possibly two events, but the league won’t tie up big opportunities to grow the game in other markets. While you might be rewarding Toronto and their fans, you’re also passing up on big financial gains in other cities. Cities where hockey isn’t the dominant sport and could use a long-term boost through a special event like an All-Star Game or the Winter Classic.
Still, the idea of hosting all four events as some form of mega-celebration is pretty fun and it would be a cash bonanza. At the very least it’s pretty neat to see Toronto try.