Old-time hockey meets modern-age basketball Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.

By David Brown
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/12/2001

In late 1997 and early 1998, both the Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs were looking for new homes. The two wrangled for position in the downtown core and at one point the Leafs proposed building a new arena just half a block away from the Air Canada Centre which the Raptors had already begun to build. Instead, the dispute ended with the feuding franchises becoming housemates after the Leafs bought out the Raptors and the two became co-tenants at the ACC.

As vice-president of people at the new Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.,(MLSEL) Mardi Walker managed human resources during the uneasy merger between the two teams.

Aside from the bad blood that preceded the buy-out, Walker and the rest of the senior team had to combine two very different organizations. From their markets to their cultures and demographics the two had almost nothing in common.