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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman not surprised to see Maple Leafs for sale

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Gary Bettman isn't the least bit surprised the Toronto Maple Leafs are for sale.

"It's a marquee team and the investment has performed magnificently," the NHL commissioner said Monday.

The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan announced over the weekend that it will explore the possibility of selling its 66 per cent majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.

The company controls the Maple Leafs, NBA's Toronto Raptors, the Toronto FC soccer franchise and the AHL's Toronto Marlies. It also owns the Air Canada Centre.

"The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan has a fiduciary obligation to the people it represents," said Bettman. "So if they believe there's a transaction that is fiduciary that they need to engage in, then they'll do it."

The prospect of the teacher's pension fund selling its stake seemed to be a reversal from its public position in December when it said it wasn't "anxious" to sell its investment. Reports surfaced in December that Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) was trying to buy out the teachers' piece of the MLSE pie.

Kilmer Sports, which is controlled by Toronto businessman Larry Tanenbaum, holds about 20.5 per cent of MLSE. TD Capital holds the remaining 13.5 per cent.

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