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LEAFS PRESIDENT BRENDAN SHANAHAN ADDRESSES WHETHER LEAFS WILL HAVE FAN ATTENDANCE IN 2020-21

Toronto Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan took some time to meet with the media on Tuesday following Leafs practice to field some questions a day ahead of the start of the much anticipated 2020-21 season.

Sportsnet's Chris Johnston kicked off the session by informing Shanahan of Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk's proposal to the province that would allow the Senators to have up to 6,000 fans attend games in Ottawa, inquiring as to whether Shanahan and the Leafs had similar plans to have fans attend games at any point this season.

Shanahan's response was well thought-out, and carefully delivered, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 has intensified in and around Toronto over the last several weeks.

"I wasn't at those conversations. I can't speak for the Ottawa Senators or Eugene Melnyk, so I won't, but those aren't the conversations we're having at this time," said Shanahan of Toronto's plans moving forward. "In Toronto we're focused on getting started in Scotiabank Arena without fans present at the games, and obviously in speaking to a lot of our fans who are excited to be watching from home, we look forward to the day that they are in the arena.

Quite frankly, one of the greatest points about the fact that when our fans are back in the arena, the more important point is that it's a reflection that our community as a whole must be doing a whole lot better to have that and for fans to be in a hockey arena.

So when our fans are able to safely come back, that will be dictated by Toronto Public Health, the Ministry of Health for Ontario and Health Canada, and like I said, if and when that happens, when it happens, it will be a reflection of our community being in a much better place. And so I look forward to that for many reasons, but first and foremost, most importantly, it'll mean that our community is in a much better place of handling COVID[-19]."



Although the Leafs will not count themselves among the teams that will allow fans, at least until such a point as the pandemic is a little more under control, I don't think fans will mind much, given the fact that they have been deprived of hockey for multiple lengthy stretches throughout 2020 and to begin 2021. In short, any NHL hockey is good NHL hockey, given the circumstances that we're in.

The Leafs will host the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday in the league's second game of the evening, and the first of the brand new "Scotia" North Division, with the festivities beginning at 7pm ET. Let the games begin!
MIKE ARMENTI
JANUARY 12, 2021  (17H25)
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