Thanks to a reader named Isaac for passing this Maclean’s interview with Gary Bettman along. I’ve copied and pasted a small portion of the interview below that concerns MLSE and Eugene Melnyk’s belief that the Leafs did in fact have a veto. I encourage readers to check out the rest of the interview. It’s a must read.
Q: What about southern Ontario?
A: If we’re relocating, or if we decide to expand, then we’ll see who the applicant pool is, where they want to play, and it’ll get a very good, hard look. We don’t have this master list somewhere where we’ve ranked cities.
Q: Do the Toronto Maple Leafs in fact have a veto on another team locating in southern Ontario, as they claimed in a letter they wrote you that was submitted to the court in Phoenix?
A: They have the same vote as everybody else in the league. One-thirtieth. It’s a majority vote. They have no veto. That letter was a reservation of their rights, and it’s three or four years old. The fact of the matter is, we’re on record with the Canadian Competition Bureau, we’re on record in the proceedings in Phoenix. They do not have a veto.
Q: Are the Leafs on the same page as you on the issue today?
A: I believe they are. And even if they’re not, it doesn’t matter because they don’t have a veto! Even if they think they do, they don’t. Let’s be precise: relocation requires a majority vote [of NHL governors]. An expansion team, because you’re admitting a new owner, requires a three-quarter vote.