Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #19, Brendan Shanahan

Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #19, Brendan Shanahan

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Brendan Shanahan

Maple Leafs

19 As president of the Leafs, ­Shanahan is the man responsible for returning the most hallowed franchise in hockey to greatness. After a year of sticking to the shadows and sussing out the team’s problems, he pounced, firing two dozen staff, including the coach and GM. He then convinced Mike ­Babcock and Lou Lamoriello to join the rebuild—and, just as importantly, persuaded Larry Tanenbaum to bankroll his master plan (Babcock’s eight-year, $50-million contract makes him the highest-paid coach in NHL history). Shanahan delivered the rare, unapologetic truth to Leafs Nation—the rebuild will be long, and it will be painful—and traded Phil Kessel, the team’s ­second-highest scorer, as proof. Though on-ice talent is still sorely lacking, there is a new culture in Leafland that runs from the front office down to the dressing room. The players, coaches and staff have bought in, and even the harshest of waffle-throwing fans can’t help but be optimistic. Shanahan has the city just where he wants it.

Up Next: Landing a high draft pick and acing the selection. The team’s future depends on it.

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