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Peddie says Leafs hope to hire senior help for GM Ferguson @NHLdotcom

TORONTO (CP) - Liking how it's worked out for the basketball team, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Richard Peddie confirmed Thursday he's looking to hire a senior executive to help guide Leafs GM John Ferguson.

"In assessing where we're at as a team, we concluded that John still is a young man, not 40 yet, has some good experience in the league and is improving - but could use some help," Peddie told The Canadian Press.

Peddie pointed to MLSE's NBA club, the Raptors, where veteran president and GM Bryan Colangelo is surrounded by assistant GM Maurizio Gherardini and senior basketball advisor Wayne Embry - both longtime basketball men.

"Bryan has been a president/GM for between 13 and 15 years. John has been in it for four," said Peddie. "And despite that, Bryan has surrounded himself with Maurizio and Wayne. And we like what's happened there."

MLSE's decision can be construed by some as a lack of faith in Ferguson, who has one year left on his contract as Leafs GM, but Peddie insisted that wasn't the case.

"We think John has lots more upside," said Peddie. "He's got the potential to become a very, very good general manager one day - an excellent one. And we think he should get some help. We talked to John about that and he embraced it enthusiastically. So we're considering that and we're talking to people. Nothing is imminent but we are looking for someone to help."

It's not clear at this point what exact title the new Leafs hire will be given.

"We're not sure," said Peddie. "We're looking at everything from a senior advisor to potentially president."

The Toronto Sun reported that MLSE approached legendary coach Scotty Bowman about the senior position but he turned it down.

"I'm not commenting on individuals potentially past or future," said Peddie.

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