Tory wants a second Toronto NHL team
Mayor John Tory is a loyal Maple Leafs fan. (JACK BOLAND/Toronto Sun)
Mayor John Tory came out firmly in favour Thursday of Toronto getting a second NHL team but he won’t be leading a campaign to score another franchise.
Just days after he said he’s dreaming of the Maple Leafs winning a Stanley Cup while he’s in office, Tory applauded the idea of starting a campaign to net a second hockey team for Hogtown during an interview on the Fearless Fred Show with Fred and Mel on 102.1 The Edge.
“I think Toronto could easily sustain a second franchise,” Tory told the hosts.
“Let’s get a campaign going,” he added.
Hours later, Tory said he won’t be the one stick-handling any campaign to woo a second team to the 416.
“Let’s be clear, I’m not looking at anything,” Tory told the Toronto Sun. “I was asked a question and I gave an honest answer which is I think we could have a second team here and I don’t think it is such a bad idea and I think it would be well supported by fans and I think it would create a fantastic rivalry.”
He repeated his belief that a second NHL team in the city would “light a bit of a fire” under the Leafs.
“It would turn the heat up a bit,” Tory said.
“But am I going to do anything about it? No. I have many other issues that people expect me to be dealing with.”
Tory said he’s always thought the market could support two franchises.
“I think you could fill another arena every night for hockey in Toronto just cause it is the hockey capital of the world and I’m proud of that,” he said.
Councillor Josh Colle tried to get council in 2011 to express its support for the city hosting a second hockey team.
Colle argued at the time that wooing a second team wasn’t a knock against the Leafs but about encouraging economic development in the city.
Council ended up voting 21-11 to ice Colle’s request to express an interest to the NHL in an additional hockey franchise (13 councillors were absent during that vote).
The mayor dismissed the idea of championing a similar motion this term.
“I’m not a big believer in doing things like that at council that are kind of fun to debate and maybe make some headlines but actually aren’t the best use of time given all the things we have to deal with,” he said.
Councillor Norm Kelly — the vice-chairman of the city’s economic development committee — couldn’t resist making a joke about the woeful Leafs’ season when asked about a second Toronto team.
“The NHL has to first of all have a team here,” Kelly quipped.
Councillor Joe Mihevc urged Leafs fans not to lose hope.
“I was a young boy when the Toronto Maple Leafs won the last Stanley Cup, sooner or later our turns will come again and we will be back in the hunt,” Mihevc said. “I think having one team for a great city like Toronto and a winning team is what we all want. “I think when the going gets tough you’ve got to back the horse you’ve backed all your life and in this case it is the Toronto Maple Leafs and only the Toronto Maple Leafs.”
Councillor Rob Ford flatly dismissed the idea of a second team.
“I don’t support that,” he said.
Should Toronto have a second NHL team?