Toronto City Hall backs second NHL team
Committee votes to make NHL pitch
DON PEAT, QMI Agency
|Toronto's economic development committee to have mayor Rob Ford send a letter to the NHL informing the league the city's interested in another franchise.
TORONTO - Some city councillors are cheering for another Toronto NHL team.
A majority of councillors on the city's economic development committee voted Thursday to send a message to the National Hockey League that Hogtown would welcome a second hockey franchise should they consider relocating another team north of the border.
The committee voted 3-to-1 to have Mayor Rob Ford write a letter to the league expressing Toronto City Hall's support for another team.
As QMI Agency reported first, Councillor Josh Colle wants the city to make a power play for a second NHL team after this week's announcement that the Atlanta Thrashers are relocating to Winnipeg.
"Why not send a message to not only the hockey world but to industry and prospective owners that we are a willing partner and a willing host, that's all we're doing today," Colle told reporters after the vote. "I can understand why some people think this may have something to do with the Leafs, but it doesn't. This is an economic opportunity, it's an opportunity for tourism.
"I actually think if this were to ever happen, the Leafs would actually benefit from it, too, it grows the whole hockey market," he said.
But not everyone was a fan.
Economic development chairman Councillor Michael Thompson voted against what he called an unwise idea, declaring his loyalty to the Toronto Maple Leafs and his firm stance against any other hockey team in the 416 area code.
"I'm not supportive of the Toronto Blades or the Toronto Purple Eagles," he told the committee before the vote.
Councillor Paula Fletcher asked, "How about the Toronto Thompsons?"
"I'm not supportive of that either; the Toronto Maple Leafs are my team," Thompson said.
The Scarborough councillor told reporters he has concerns a second team would cause more traffic congestion in the city and, by council aggressively endorsing the idea, create a demand for taxpayers' cash to support it further down the road.
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment said the topic "resurrects itself every few years.
"If or when the National Hockey League comes to the Board of Governors with a recommendation on relocation or expansion of an NHL franchise in Toronto, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment will analyze the recommendation and provide its input at that time," MLSE said in a statement.