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When Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment President and CEO Tim Leiweke was in the red chair, George asked him about Brian Burke, the former Toronto Maple Leafs GM who was fired a few months before he assumed control.
"I'm proud to call Brian Burke my friend," Leiweke said. "He has been one of the mainstays for me since I got here, and I'm not afraid to tell people I meet with Burkey once a month, because he teaches me a lot, and he's helped me understand what we have to do here and how we have to win. And I love Brian Burke. I think he's a great ambassador for our game, and for our industry."
George also asked Leiweke about whether MLSE had more work to do to reinforce the message that hockey can be inclusive place for gay players — one of Burke's signature initiatives.
"Where we occasionally need to do better are the social issues and understand we can move the needle for things that are important in the world more than anyone. One of the reasons I love Masai [Ujiri, the Toronto Raptors GM], is what he's doing in Africa. One of the reasons Masai jumped [from the Denver Nuggets] is the first time Masai and I spent a day together... we spent the first hour talking about how we can move the needle. And that so overwhelmed him, that I didn't ask him one basketball question.
"I told him, I get the platform we have, and the thing you'll find with me is a person that sees the world the same way, and will give you all of the support you need to go take your social agenda and your agenda with those kids in Africa, and I'll back you 100 per cent and in fact we'll pay for your foundation and your staff.
"We can't be afraid of being criticized for taking on difficult issues, even if they're outside our realm."
George's interview with Tim Leiweke airs Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 7 pm on CBC.