Toronto councillor making pitch for second NHL team
DON PEAT, QMI Agency
|Councillor Josh Colle says Toronto should play hard for a second NHL franchise. (DON PEAT/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - Councillor Josh Colle wants Toronto to make a power play for another hockey team.
While Winnipeg celebrates the return of the National Hockey League to its city, Colle will ask Thursday for Toronto's economic development committee to get Hogtown in the game to score the next team the league decides to relocate to Canada.
"I think we've got to be aggressive about it and not just kind of sit back and see where the chips fall where they may," Colle told QMI Agency on Wednesday. "Let's play some offence instead of defence, let's forecheck a little bit."
In a letter to economic development chairman Councillor Michael Thompson obtained by QMI Agency, Colle urges his colleagues to write to the NHL and make it clear Toronto, despite already being home to the Maple Leafs, is ready to face off against other cities, even our southern Ontario neighbours, for another team "should the opportunity arise."
Mayor Rob Ford and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman are copied on the letter.
The rookie councillor -- a member of the city's economic development committee -- said a second team would generate economic activity, tourism, jobs and tax revenues for the city.
Rumours of another team relocating around Toronto have been rampant over the last few years with Hamilton, Vaughan and Waterloo all being tossed around as possible sites.
"We're going to sit on our hands and not say a peep while there are teams that look like they're available now? It's crazy," Colle said.
"By sending a letter to the NHL we're saying, when the next opportunity becomes available know that we are willing to work with you in order to make this work. We are a willing host market."
Given the announcement this week that the NHL will relocate the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, it is clear the struggling expansion teams are in play, Colle said.
"There is an obvious sign now with what happened in Winnipeg that they are willing to come back to Canada," he said.
"I think sending this message also gets potential ownership groups out in the city, we know there are a lot of great candidates, to realize that this city is willing to work with them to make something happen."
Asked about Toronto's current team, Colle -- a diehard Leafs' fan -- said he thinks a second Toronto team would be good for the Buds.
"This is not about the Leafs for me, this is about making sure Toronto seizes an opportunity but at the same time, I actually don't think it would hurt the Leafs, I think it grows the market," he said.
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Councillor Josh Colle wants city council to support scoring another Toronto NHL team.
Here's a rundown of where he thinks the team should go, what it should be called, how he feels about the Leafs and who he thinks will win the Stanley Cup this year:
Where would you want to see another Toronto NHL team?
"I think Woodbine is great ... it is so close to the airport and to the highways and to other municipalities with big populations, I think that would make a tonne of sense."
What would you call Toronto's second NHL team?
"We could go the Jets' way and revive the old WHL name and go with the Toros. The Toronto Toros. But there is so much hockey history in this city we could come up with something and maybe location would determine that."
Don't you like the Leafs?
"I am a long-suffering but diehard Leafs' fan ... but I think it might be a nice kick in the a-- for them, too."
The puck drops in Game 1 Wednesday night, who is going to win the Stanley Cup this year?
"I think Vancouver is ... I'm not one of those people who cheer for other Canadian teams when the Leafs are out. I don't get it. I always say a Yankees fan would never cheer for the Red Sox, so I'm not going to start cheering for Vancouver but I think they are going to win."