|The Toronto Maple Leafs are hoping to host an NHL all-star game, an outdoor game as well as a draft. (Andre Forget/QMI AGENCY)
NEW YORK -- You didn't expect Maple Leafs officials just to sit around on their blue-and-white butts while their provincial rivals from Ottawa get all the accolades, did you?
Indeed, there will be a lot of justified chest pumping in the Nation's Capital Wednesday when commissioner Gary Bettman is expected to officially announce Ottawa as the deserving site of the 2012 NHL all-star festivities.
Ottawa proved to be a very worthy host of the 2008 NHL draft, an event where Senators owner Eugene Melnyk was reportedly promised an all-star game down the road.
Of course, while Ottawa will be basking in the hockey spotlight in 16 months as part of the team's 20th anniversary celebration, Richard Peddie, president of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment Ltd, continues to lobby Bettman in an effort to bring an all-star game, draft and outdoor game to Toronto.
Peddie revealed Tuesday that he and Bettman held discussions on those events two weeks ago over lunch at the Real Sports Bar & Grill. According to Peddie, further talks are scheduled for next month.
"We have an annual meeting with Gary to talk about Maple Leaf-related things and that's coming up in October. At that time we will present him with a potential agenda," said Peddie who, along with Leafs general manager Brian Burke, was here in New York to attend the NHL board of governors meeting.
The Air Canada Centre, home of the Leafs, played host to the 2000 all-star game and the 2002 entry draft.
The Leafs have been pushing for a winter classic to be held at BMO Field, citing the surrounding buildings on the CNE Grounds would provide the perfect venues for a festival-like atmosphere around the event. But back in January, a high-ranking NHL official expressed concerns to the Toronto Sun about BMO's modest 20,500 capacity.
"We want this thing to be a real spectacle," the official said.