The biggest free agent acquisition of the year in Toronto is … a new scoreboard for Air Canada Centre.
There was a time — say, 10 years ago — when Toronto was perfectly content to have its winter sporting teams play in older facilities with scoreboard that were basic and simple. The hockey and basketball teams played in an old cherished building (Maple Leaf Gardens) that had a simple, standard four sided scoreboard with no bells and whistles. (And this was a big improvement over its predecessor, a huge mechanical structure that was used for nearly 30 years).
Those days are long gone.
The NHL Maple Leafs and NBA Raptors may be trying their fans’ infinite patience with their in-game struggles but there is no questioning the folks who attend can get a good look at what is transpiring on the ice and on the court.
Air Canada Centre, the home for both teams since 1999, showed off its newest toy yesterday — a $7.8 million addition that includes a scoreboard and a renovated control room. The new board (which ran nearly $5 million by itself) comes complete with all the latest video gimmicks — ranging from a continual crawl running out of town scores to a 72-foot long ring that will hang over center ice and mid-court.
This may not help the Maple Leafs end their drought of Stanley Cup contention (they haven’t been to the finals since their last Cup win in 1967) but, at least everybody can see clearly what went wrong this time.
The first unveiling will be September 22 when the Maple Leafs host Buffalo in a preseason game.
More from the Toronto Star here.