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Alberta man looks to buy the Maple Leafs—for $1,000

Darren Thompson, of Leduc, Alberta, wants to buy the Toronto Maple Leafs. It may seem like high treason for an Albertan to own the club—really, could it be any worse than the soulless Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP)?—but Thompson’s initiative gives everybody who wants to own a share of the Leafs a shot. In theory, his plan is simple: he’s seeking a $1,000 investment from over one million Canadians to make up the $1.3 billion the OTPP is asking for its share of the franchise. Sure, it seems ludicrously far-fetched—but is it?


“I’ve always had a dream to own a professional sports team,” Thompson said in an interview with “When I realized I didn’t have the talent to make an NHL team, that was the only chance I’d have to get my hands on the Stanley Cup.

“If teachers can buy a hockey team, why couldn’t every Canadian that has a dream for this buy one, too?”

Thompson says that since launching his website March 13, one day after Teachers’ [OTPP] announced its intention to sell, he has received $40 million in pledge commitments by email — promising varying amounts should the project get off the ground. In one day of the drive, promised — and as yet theoretical — pledges totalled as much as $5 million, he said.

The model actually isn’t new in the world of professional sports. South of the border, the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers are owned by a non-profit community organization and they just so happen to be the reigning Super Bowl champs.

Thompson has a Web site, “Own The Leafs,” and has set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account for his project. He says that not only has he received support in the motherland—that is, Toronto—but also from expats overseas and even closeted Leaf fans in Montreal.

So is his idea really that far-fetched? Yes, it absolutely is. But if there’s one thing Leaf fans have grown to love (and throw money at), it’s an underdog.

• Own the Leafs site urges fans to buy share of team []
• Want to own the Leafs for $1,000? There’s a catch [Toronto Star]
• Wanna own the Leafs? [Toronto Sun]
• He has a dream []

  • Darren Thompson


    Thanks for taking the time! Love the graphic.

    Believe in the Dream!


  • shaun

    i think it’s the dumbest thing i’ve ever heared!! i am a huge leaf fan and i think the idea is rediculous!! as if the nhl is going to let a bunch of random people with no ligit business status.. profitable or non-profitable!! and the idea of the creater of this to say he has more say because of 1000$ more than everyone else is just stupid!! i for one do not agree with the idea and hope to god for the teams sake rogers buys them!! good luck with your retarded idea!!

  • shaun

    forgot to say that the organization that owns the packers is a charity type organiztation that has a ligit status as an organization!! i stress organization!!! this is just a bunch of people with a dream that will turn into a nightmare if they get this to go through!! So when something needs to be done, who gets the say in everything?? are we gonna have a vote of 1 million people to decide?? just stupid!!! and i hope you realize it is’nt just the leafs being bought!! it’s all the teams owned by mlse!! i hope betman realizes how dumb this is and the way he goes about business, have fun trying to get them!!

  • Derek

    How retarded can an idea be if it won a superbowl? in public ownership obviously there will be positions of power established which will allow for proper organizational focus. yes this idea would control The Raptors, Marlies, TFC, ML Square, Richo The Acc and yes the leafs and the ability to run each effectively and efficiently is definitely feasible. Agreed to many people who do not understand business and sport may drive the teams into the ground; this is why the people who run this idea will have to allocate power accordingly. Much like the packers system that was established in 1929.