NHL ponders 2 teams in Toronto: report
The Toronto Maple Leafs might have some company.
According to Tuesday's edition of the Globe and Mail, NHL governors have had informal talks about putting a second team in Toronto.
"Why shouldn't we put another team in the best and biggest market in the world?" said one governor, who spoke anonymously with the newspaper.
The governor also confirmed that there have been conversations about Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Waterloo, Ont.-based Research in Motion Ltd., being rewarded with an expansion team in Toronto after helping to restore financial ballast to the Nashville Predators.
"I've heard this exact scenario," a second governor told the Globe.
In recent years, Balsillie has made attempts to buy the Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins amid speculation he would move the team to the southern Ontario region.
No comment from Peddie
Without rejecting out of hand the idea of another NHL teaming coming to Toronto, Richard Peddie, president of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, told the Canadian Press Tuesday that his organization would not offer a reaction until his club's board was given a league recommendation on the matter.
"I think we're mindful of all trends and part of our job is to plan long term and of course we try to be cognizant of all issues and opportunities and start contemplating what the necessary resolution has to be," Peddie said.
"But that's for everything, from CBA to new broadcast deals, just anything. We're a large company and we always have a lot of things coming up and we're always trying to be proactive."
Leafs backup goalie Curtis Joseph said he can't see why the club would even allow another NHL team into the city.
"If you're a smart business man, I think you want to keep the monopoly," Joseph said. "… What if that other franchise became hugely successful? If you have a say why would you (let it happen)?"
'This is years away from happening'
Of course, talk of putting a second NHL team in Toronto is just that - talk.
"This is years away from happening," said Hockey Night in Canada Radio host Jeff Marek. "There are too many hurdles — the issue of expansion versus relocation, a building where they can play, compensation to the Leafs for giving up their territory — for this to be fast-tracked."
The issue of where a second team would play is a big obstacle to overcome, according to Marek.
"The Globe and Mail piece indicates the Air Canada Centre would be the natural venue for the potential squad but let's not forget this is the second busiest arena — after Madison Square Garden — in North America and scheduling would be a huge issue," Marek said.
"Sure, you can rightly say that if the Leafs knew they had a guaranteed tenant for another 41 dates a year the concert industry would have to look elsewhere.
"Also, and this might seem like a seemingly small issue, but within the Air Canada Centre there is no room for another dressing room, as both the Leafs and Raptors already have existing spots carved out in the building."
With files from Canadian Press