Brian Burke will have full control over hockey personnel decisions in his new job as president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, according to Richard Peddie.
The CEO and president of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Leafs, suggested that in an interview that aired on Inside Hockey during Saturday's broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada.
MLSE has been accused in the past of meddling with Leafs management, but Peddie said Burke will be free to make moves as he sees fit now that he has been formally introduced as the team's boss.
The arrangement looks to be similar to the one enjoyed by Bryan Colangelo. The president and general manager of the MLSE-owned Toronto Raptors is thought to have final say over basketball decisions with the NBA team.
Burke, who left his job as GM of the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 12, had said he would insist on getting free rein over hockey operations in his next job.
Peddie said that granting that kind of power is necessary in order to attract top executives.
"They know that they want to make the decisions, they don't want overzealous owners who are fans making the decisions, so they negotiate that, they're smart," Peddie said. "And I can tell you that the clause that the new [Leafs] general manager will have, on hockey, reads identical to Bryan Colangelo's."
Though happy with his position, Colangelo indicated he still must answer to the powerful MLSE board, which along with Peddie includes representatives of the majority-owning Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and minority owners CTVglobemedia and TD Bank Financial Group.
"Everyone's got a boss. You're always reporting to a boss and clearing decisions ultimately through someone and I find it no different here in the circumstances," said Colangelo. "They brought me in, put me in charge of the basketball team and they've given me the leeway to go ahead and operate that the way I feel is necessary."