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The Malik Report

How sports ownership should work, with your host, Red Wings GM Ken Holland

Especially in light of the fact that, even if the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Board sells their share of the Toronto Maple Leafs, their parent company, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, will remain a corporate entity, the Toronto Sun’s Mike Zeisberger suggests that the Detroit Red Wings might have a more efficient ownership model in place:

“My board of directors are Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch,” Holland said on Saturday. “I pick up the phone and call them.”

Simple. Yet effective. And there’s the rub. It is no coincidence that the Red Wings have enjoyed so much success in the past three decades. The continuity of ownership, combined with the fact that there is just one man at the top who rubber-stamps moves, as opposed to an entire board or group, has proved to be a lucrative formula.

Consider this: Since Ilitch, the founder and owner of Little Caesar’s Pizza, purchased the team, the Red Wings have won four Stanley Cups. Over that same period, the Leafs have exactly zero. You connect the dots.

“I’ve been general manager since 1997,” Holland said. “Whenever I’ve called, if I think there is a move needed that is on the ice or off the ice, (the Ilitches) have never nixed it. If anything, Mr. Ilitch would like to see us grow the hockey staff. I tell him it’s all good, we’re happy the way it is. I remember when I said I wanted to sign Brett Hull. I called Mr. Ilitch, I walked him through it and it was done. Then I went through the agent. For Detroit and the Red Wings, ownership is a big part of the reason we’ve had the success that we’ve had.”

There is another big difference between the Toronto and Detroit franchises, this one having to do with the culture. MLSE is portrayed more as a corporate atmosphere, whereas the Wings, according to Holland, are “like a family.”

Continued, and the article’s definitely worth your time.

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.