Bulls & Bears: Shahanan remodels Leafs; NHL misses opportunity in Seatte

 

 
 
 
 
Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

More on This Story

 

VANCOUVER — Sorting out the major winners and losers of this week — with a bottom-line twist — in the world of sports:

BULLS OF THE WEEK

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been quite the sport business enigma for the past decade; reaching the Stanley Cup playoffs just once in the past 10 seasons despite a period of unparalleled business growth and clout for the Maple Leafs. They are the biggest sport business unit in Canada and in the NHL. What the Leafs haven’t accomplished on the ice — no Stanley Cups since 1967 — they’ve achieved off the ice with a Forbes Magazine valuation of $1.3B on the strength of projected annual revenues of $190M per annum. That financial performance is hollow success in the eyes of long-suffering fans, who in the post-expansion history of the NHL really only have a few good runs under the late Pat Burns and Pat Quinn to cherish. Yet with the possible exception of the Edmonton Oilers, no NHL franchise has gone through more of an impressive overhaul this off-season than Toronto. Ray Ferraro of TSN suggests no transformation has been more complete — nor more surprising — than that of the Maple Leafs. That’s why team President Brendan Shanahan is our Bull of the Week, not only for the blockbuster appointment Thursday of longtime New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello, but for the fact it comes on the heels of hiring Mike Babcock as his new head coach. It will be on Shanahan, of course, to make the most of Lamoriello’s experience within a new school hockey operations department but in a word, this means credibility across the board for the Leafs. Whatever his personal and professional timeline, you have to give credit to Shanahan for turning heads throughout the NHL and North American professional sport with the move, which no one saw coming.

BEARS OF THE WEEK

The NHL is poised to take advantage of a billion dollars of expansion fees from groups in Las Vegas and Quebec City and that’s nothing to sneeze at. Yet you can’t help but feel that Gary Bettman and company are disappointed that they didn’t get at least one NHL expansion application from the three or four groups that have been eyeing the Seattle market. Teams in Vegas and Seattle would have been the shortest distance to two balanced conferences and four divisions of eight teams each. The NHL wants to be part of the dynamic sports economy that is Seattle and that time will come. However, given all of the talk that’s centered on Seattle the past couple of years, it’s our Bear-of-the-Week because of the missed opportunity for NHL proponents to make their case for expansion in the 2017-18 season. As many as four applications — or about 25 per cent of the 16 expansion kits distributed to interested parties — were in the hands of Seattle suitors. Two groups — one led by Jac Sperling — couldn’t pull together a plan for Bellevue. Ray Bartozsek elected not to proceed with an application connected to an arena plan for Tukwila. Most notably, however, it was the failure of Vancouver-born Victor Coleman to finesse an arena financing plan with south downtown arena champion Chris Hansen that was probably the most disappointing of all for the league and for NHL fans in the Pacific Northwest.

Tom Mayenknecht is host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and TSN Radio, where he regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of sports business. He reviews the major winners and losers of the past week every Saturday in The Vancouver Sun.

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. We are using Facebook commenting. Visit our FAQ page for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice