MLSE President Keith Pelley: “We Need To Win, Nothing Else Matters”

Keith Pelley Is The Man In Toronto Now

Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment President and CEO Keith Pelley did not hold back his words when meeting with the media on Friday. He even used the title of a Metallica song when describing what he expects from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“We need to win. Nothing else matters. No doubt you’ve heard that before. But I am 1000 percent committed to it,” MLSE President Keith Pelley told the media on Friday.

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The hockey world revolves around Toronto as much as people do not want to admit. There has been a lot of talk about what the Maple Leafs will do this season. However, one thing is clear: Pelley wants Toronto to be a winning and championship franchise again.

“The fans here not only deserve but demand a championship. There’s no complacency. We’re not here to sell jerseys,” Pelley continued. 

The mandate is simple: what has been done in the past is not acceptable anymore.

“I came here to win, and good is simply not good enough,” Pelley said. 

It comes down to the phrase Al Davis, the deceased owner of the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, coined so passionately, “Just Win, Baby!”

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That is the message from the ownership of the Toronto Maple Leafs. And that is the message Keith Pelley portrayed in the press conference on Friday. This had a different feel to it than in previous years.

You knew Pelley was in charge, as Brendan Shanahan is no longer making the decisions. Even though Pelley gave complete confidence in Shanahan and General Manager Brad Treliving, this is his team, and he has the final say as Elliotte Friedman said on the Jeff Marek show on Friday. 

“But the last thing that really hit me Jeff, Keith Pelley’s in charge. They had this press conference today because he was available today. I think initially they were supposed to do it yesterday. I don’t think he was available yesterday, and he wanted to be there. And it was Keith Pelley who came out and delivered a vote of confidence for Brendan Shanahan and Brad Treliving.

And it basically said to me, that, you know, Shanahan and Treliving are in are in charge of the hockey side of the operation, but I am in charge of the big picture, and I am making these decisions. And I am here to let everybody know that right now I am backing these guys.

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And you know Shanahan faced some questions about his, about his resume and his future and things like that. But it was Pelley who made sure to come out and say, Nope, this is my call. And he’s a champion. He used the phrase champion. So those are the three things that really stood out to me and probably the most important one of them was Pelley saying I’m the guy here and not saying it, but showing it he’s the guy here now.”

This truly was the dawning of a new age with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

With the way Pelley spoke it appears, the Maple Leafs might take a page out of the Vegas Golden Knights playbook where they are no longer in the hockey business but the winning business.

Let’s see where things head in regards to what direction they take this offseason.