As of 2009, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (66 percent), Kilmer Sports inc., owned by Larry Tanenbaum (20.5 percent) and TD Capital (14 percent) own the Maple Leafs and combine to make up MLSE (Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment).
Yet they haven’t won a cup since 1967.
Brian Burke has the pressure of the media and Leafs nation to put a winning product on the ice but the owners couldn't really care less as the money continues to roll in no matter who’s on the ice.
The corporate seats sold in the ACC make it tough for any regular Joe to get a good ticket to a game, of course, without having to pay an arm and a leg to the many scalpers that stand like ravens hunting for something shinny just outside the lights of the massive screen on Bremner Avenue.
I’m sure it irks some Leafs fans to know that Mike Komisarek is making as much as Phil Kessel, but does that matter to the owners? I highly doubt it.
If the Leafs continue to slide in their rebuilding phase with Burke at the helm and Ron Wilson behind the bench and give away another top-five draft pick to division-rival Boston, will there be fewers fans in the stands next year?
It will be even harder to get a ticket because Nazem Kadri and perhaps a couple of other prospects will be ready to take full-time duty wearing the blue and white, and the corporate money will still be there, and guaranteed, no one is giving up their seasons tickets.
The vicious cycle continues.
I won season tickets to the Leafs last year in the first preseason game against the Boston Bruins while standing beside the now Los Angeles Kings forward Alexei Ponikarovsky, truly the dream of any Leafs fan.
Granted, last season was tumultuous, to say the least, and there wasn’t a lot to cheer about.
But even down the stretch, when Toronto was playing some good hockey, once Burke made all the changes, the atmosphere in the ACC was still lacking, to say the least.
The corporate seats (lower bowl) had suits in them talking business while drinking and eating the extremely overpriced beer and Burkies Dogs that combined could run you $30 (Beer and a hot dog $30). You would only hear a peep out of them at the end once drunk, and usually only in the form of Boos, while the raucous true fans yelled from the rafters hoping their hockey heroes would hear some support for their efforts on the ice.
The sad state of affairs is not just the lack of scoring, poor coaching, traded away youth of the past and poor scouting in Toronto, but it stands with the greed of MLSE and its owners, who again, could care less about the product.
I will continue bleeding blue and white till death do us part, but the deeper I delve into the inner workings of the Toronto Maple Leafs and MLSE the more bleak the darkness seemingly has me spurring death to my door with haste.
Almost sadly, still I cheer, GO LEAFS GO!