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04-28-2013, 12:56 PM
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“If I can bring enthusiasm, direction and an improved sense of focus on that mission, that’s what I’ll do for the Maple Leafs," new president and CEO of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment Tim Leiweke said about the possibility of bringing the Stanley Cup back to Toronto.

Tim Leiweke is not shy.

The new president and chief executive officer of Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment spoke with the media on Friday evening, and did not bother with tempering expectations. Leiweke made it clear that while he hoped to help MLSE continue its success in the business world, his main goal was to turn the Maple Leafs, Raptors and Toronto FC into perennial championship contenders.

The 55-year-old native of St. Louis spoke to the media for 25 minutes, covering a wide range of topics. Here are some of his comments:

On the overall state of the organization: “I think for right now you cheer the Leafs on and try to stay out of their way. It’s more important, I think, from my standpoint, to jump into the Raptors, who have not had that success, and begin to help the board on the decision that they have now with the leadership of the Raptors, but also to begin to set a long-term focus and long-term course for that organization. … That 36-million fan base is an amazing resource. But we haven’t tapped into it. That’s going to be a high priority. I think as it relates to the football club, [Toronto FC president and general manager] Kevin Payne have known each other for a long time. Kevin worked for me when we owned D.C. United at AEG. We’re very familiar with one another. … I’m sure it’s not lost on all of you that I’m a big believe in [designated players] If you can find a big, bold one, that not only sends a message to the fan base, the community about your commitment to the team, but it changes the dynamics of the league. That’s something we’d look at doing as well.”

On bringing the Maple Leafs their first Stanley Cup since 1967: “If I can bring enthusiasm, direction and an improved sense of focus on that mission, that’s what I’ll do for the Maple Leafs. I think Dave [Nonis] and Randy [Carlyle] have done a tremendous job this year. I love the personality that this team has developed and the character that they have developed. I don’t think what they need is another GM. I think what they need is a person who just went through the experience of the environment we created to win the Stanley Cup. I’m going to do the best I can to help create that environment here and make that the priority here every day.”

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