March 14, 2011
Let the buyer beware, fans say
By DAN ILIKA, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Leafs Nation was abuzz with speculation yesterday over reports that the sporting giant's majority ownership group was for sale.
But the potential sale of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan had fans questioning if it was good or bad.
"I don't think it's going to be too much different (because) it's going to be the same people running it," said Sandy Sicillia, who owns the sports memorabilia shop, Legends of the Game. "You still have the same GM, you still have the same coach and you still have the (salary) cap so it's not like baseball where somebody buys it ... and does whatever it takes to win a championship."
Some said while they understand the economics of the game, what matters most is seeing a winning product on the ice. "Are they going to spend enough money for a championship?" asked Eric Pedersen, at the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence for his son's game Sunday. "I think it is something about having a private owner who wants to win and does whatever it takes."
Some fans simply don't care. "I love the game but the business of it is not my thing," added Chauncey Birch, also out at the rinks for some Sunday afternoon hockey.
In comments to torontosun.com, Edwin Green was ecstatic. "Good, get rid of the Teachers," he wrote. "All they wanted was the money."
Mike Hodgson said potential buyers should be wary of how they approach the situation. "I hope whomever buys the (MLSE) has winning in mind because if they stay with the status quo I do believe the fans will turn on the whole organization," he wrote.