Ownership of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the companies controlling the team and its building, by competing entities is hardly new.
Nor is having a major player in the broadcast business as part of the group.
When Conn Smythe went looking for the money to build a new palace to house the Maple Leafs as the Great Depression lowered over the land in 1930, he wasn't that picky about whose hand it came from.
As Smythe's biographers over the years, including Scott Young (If You Can't Beat 'Em in the Alley) and, most recently, Kelly McParland (The Lives of Conn Smythe), have pointed out, the man most identified with Maple Leaf Gardens and the hockey club did not actually own them for the first 20 years.
Instead he ran them, on behalf of a board of directors, from the purchase of the team in 1927, through the new building's construction in just five months in 1931, and up to 1947 when Smythe finally gained full control.
Maple Leaf Gardens Limited (seven per cent held by thousands of small shareholders) owned the hockey club and everything else that went on in what was then a jewel of a building at Church and Carlton Streets.
To raise the $1.5 million for the construction of MLG, Smythe put together a group that included the T. Eaton Company (as part of the land sale), Alfred Rogers, a coal and cement baron, the Sun Life Insurance Company ($500,000, by far the largest stake), and the Bank of Commerce (which agreed to cover any shortfall).
Still, the MLG (and by extension the Leafs') board included direct competitors to the main money men, including Canada Life, the Bank of Nova Scotia, and Simpsons department store (sort of like Macy's and Gimbels getting into bed together if this had happened in New York City).
J.P Bickell, a stock broker and gold mine owner, and Ed Bickle, also a stockbroker, were key cogs in the original purchase of the Toronto St. Pats in 1927 by Smythe.
Conn would sell his shares in the club and Maple Leaf Gardens to his son Stafford, Harold Ballard and John Bassett, in 1961.
Bassett, a media baron and founder of Baton Broadcasting, loved sports and the Leafs but also saw the possibilities in content for his CFTO television station. Channel 9 (the first private TV license in the country) would become the home of Wednesday night Leafs hockey broadcasts.
He also owned the Toronto Telegram, a daily newspaper that would cease publication in 1971, so for 10 years the man who ran the hockey club also owned some of the largest media outlets covering it.
And one of his partners in the original television station? A man named Ted Rogers.
Bassett also helped found CTV national network. Now owned by Bell.
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