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Leafs minority owner: “The way this year ended was unacceptable.”

Casey Cizikas; James Reimer

Toronto Maple Leafs fans wear paper bags over their heads before an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders in Toronto on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)


Lawrence M. Tanenbaum, who owns a minority stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, bought newspaper space so that he could deliver an apology letter to Leafs fans.

“The Toronto Maple Leafs are a public trust with the greatest fans in the world,” Tanenbaum said in his signed letter. “We have fallen short of everyone’s expectations, and for that we are sorry. We take full responsibility for how this team performs on the ice, and we make no excuses. The way this year ended was unacceptable.”

In what was probably a nod to Leafs GM Brian Burke, Tanenbaum also said that the “ownership believes in the plan for the Maple Leafs.”

Toronto earned just seven victories in their final 29 games to go from a serious competitor for a playoff spot to a team with a shot at the top overall draft pick. Now that Florida has made the playoffs, the Leafs have the longest active playoff drought in the NHL. They do still have a relatively young core and their situation might not be as dire as their late season collapse would lead you to believe. Still, this will be a very important summer for Burke and the Leafs.