Long before there was a search for a new GM or head coach, there was the search for a new President & CEO of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, the group that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Last August, it was announced that current President & CEO Tim Leiweke would be stepping aside to pursue other career interests, with lots of speculation that Leiweke was unhappy having to deal with a notoriously difficult group of owners.
Reports have begun to surface that suggest John Cassaday, who recently stepped down as the President & CEO of Canadian broadcaster Corus Entertainment, will be the person to replace Leiweke, who was slated to officially step down from his role with MLSE on June 30th.
It’s been a lengthy search, though one often swept under the rug by the mainstream media. Among the candidates reported to have been in the running for the position was current Chief Operating Officer for the NHL, John Collins. Collins apparently told MLSE that ultimately he wasn’t interested, not the other way around.
It’s an interesting move, although one that the fans will seldom see the real influence of. There have been plenty of rumors about MLSE being more than meddlesome when it comes to the day-to-day operation of its teams. New Leafs coach Mike Babcock has made subtle reference to that, saying one of his big demands in coming to Toronto was that ownership would stay committed to the team’s plan for a lengthy rebuild.
Among the moves the soon-to-be former MLSE President & CEO made, at least when it comes to the Leafs, is the hiring of Brendan Shanahan as Team President. If nothing else, we can be thankful for that. By all accounts, Brendan Shanahan has been awesome so far.
Corus Entertainment, who John Cassaday recently left, is most well-known for its ownership of children’s cartoon broadcasters YTV and Teletoon. Considering MLSE is owned by Rogers and Bell, Cassaday should have plenty of experience working with wealthy broadcasting executives.
If everything runs smoothly, Cassaday could be announced as the new head of MLSE as early as next week.