New Leafs practice rink delayed

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

The opening of the Maple Leafs' new practice rink likely will been pushed back at least a year.

The proposed four-pad complex, estimated to be worth about $25 million, is to be located on a 10-acre plot on the west side of Kipling Ave., just north of Lakeshore Collegiate. It was hoped the facility would be ready in time for the Leafs' 2007 training camp.

'BRIEF HICCUP'

But bureaucratic delays have caused officials to alter that date.

"It's not totally confirmed but right now we are looking at September 2008," Bob Harris, chairman of the arena board for the Lakeshore Lions Club, said last night. "There has been a brief hiccup."

Harris said the intended occupants of the facility, including the Leafs and the Marlies, Hockey Canada and the Hockey Hall of Fame, are all aware of the change.

"We have no problems with our tenants," Harris said.

The sticking point has been the passing of the land swap by city council. While most feel it will be a slam dunk, the date for the process to be completed was deferred from this week to the week of July 25.

The project will be built and operated by the Lions Club. The city will own the structure and the land it is on, then lease it to the Lions Club.

The Lions Club already has an agreement in place with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. for use of the facility.


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