Report: Toronto mayor knew Stamkos wasn't signing with Leafs
Presented with the opportunity to become hockey's next big insider, Toronto mayor John Tory chose instead not to be the bearer of bad news to his constituents.
A series of emails obtained through a Freedom of Information request reveals Tory's office knew Steven Stamkos had decided against signing with the hometown Maple Leafs - choosing instead to re-up with the Tampa Bay Lightning - before the decision was made public.
When a report emerged stating Tory was present at a meeting between Stamkos and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, his staff clearly wasn't sure how to respond to a series of media inquiries.
"Whoa boy ..." writes Tory’s spokesman Amanda Galbraith to chief of staff Chris Eby upon receiving questions from the Sun.
"Have we decided what we’re saying on this?" Eby replies.
"The Mayor attended an event on Monday," Galbraith writes back. "(Stamkos is) not coming he’s staying in Tampa, that will be out tomorrow."
The mayor's office even emailed MLSE asking for advice on how to handle the questions.
A few hours later, MLSE spokesman Dave Haggith replies to the Mayor’s office by e-mail. He sends a short message with a tweet from a TSN reporter in the body of the message.
"Cancel the Stamkos Sweepstakes, he has decided to return to the Tampa Bay Lightning," the reporter had tweeted.
"This will put an end to the media calls to the mayor’s office on this ... thanks for your help," Haggith writes of the social media message.
In the end, however, Tory did answer a bevy of questions about his involvement in the meeting, saying he was there to say Stamkos would be most welcome in Toronto.
Who says sports and politics don't mix?