The Toronto Sun splashed the headline of “It’s official: Leafs are NHL’s biggest losers”. I think the biggest losers are the Toronto Maple Leaf fans, as this new title will probably never be beaten by any other team.
When the Chicago Blackhawks won game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup finals on Wednesday night, the longest championship drought in National Hockey League history came to a conclusion. Chicago had held the record for number of seasons without a Stanley Cup. Now the current record holder is the Toronto Maple Leafs with having the longest current Stanley Cup dry spell, 43 years.
Going back to the days of Harold Ballard, the management and owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs realized that they did not have to put a high salary team on the ice to fill every seat in the arena. There was no motivation to put a winning team on ice as long as the team was profitable. Today there are salary caps and teams that go over the salary cap are financially penalized, but teams owned by those who want pride in owning a winning team are always the best.. For teams like the Leafs who are primarily owned for investment purposes by the Ontario Teacher’s Pension fund, the team is only seen as an investment that needs the maximum return for its shareholders and will never be a contender.
Until the Toronto Maple Leafs are owned by a billionaire like Research in Motion’s (RIM) Jim Balsillie, who loves the game of hockey and plays it at least once a week, The Toronto Maple Leafs will not take a sip from Lord Stanley’s Cup. When you look at the most successful sports franchises around the world, the owners are those who have made their millions or billions in other business ventures. They are not looking at their sports franchise as a money losing venture, but they are willing to make a significant investment to making the team win.
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