SUN Hockey Pool

Maguire pushes for NHL in GTA

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

Former Maple Leaf Kevin Maguire is the man heading up a group that expressed interest in bringing a second National Hockey League franchise to the Greater Toronto Area.

The story broke yesterday in a published report but did not identify the people heading up the group.

Maguire, in conjunction with Vaughan mayor Linda Jackson, formed a group and had been exploring the possibility of luring a team to an as-yet unbuilt arena on the southwest corner of Highway 427 and Highway 7 in the city of Vaughan.

A meeting in Toronto last week with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly however has put the plans on hold.

"I truly believe getting an NHL team would be tremendous for the city of Vaughan, but the league has said that a second team in the Toronto area is not something that's on their radar screen right now," Maguire said.

"However, we wanted the NHL to know that if they ever change their mind, we think the city of Vaughan would be the best option and the proposed site the best location."

It is incumbent upon the league to listen to anyone willing to throw money their way, so the fact that this group requested and received a meeting with Daly is not that surprising.

It is the first step in a process that gets tougher with each and every successive step.

"It is very common for groups to approach us, and it is very common for us to grant meetings with them," Daly said yesterday in an e-mail.

LEAFS STAY MUM

The Maple Leafs, who have been down this road a time or two before, weren't interested in discussing the matter.

"We are not responding to any of this," Richard Peddie, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. said yesterday.

"This has been so much speculation -- this group, that group -- we choose not to join in this speculation. If and when the league brings a recommendation to the (MLSEL) board, which they would have to do, we will look at it."

The Leafs, and perhaps the Buffalo Sabres as well, would have a say in a second team coming into this market as per NHL regulations governing territorial rights.

But as Daly made clear to the group in their meeting and further reiterated yesterday in his e-mail, the league has "no desire to explore a Toronto option at present" because as a league they "do not have intentions to expand in the foreseeable future and we do not want to relocate any of our existing franchises."


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