Peddie conveys story of his “Dream Job” in new book


Richard PeddieBy Ron Giofu


Richard Peddie has run major companies, including Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), and his new book “Dream Job” is ranked fifth on the Canadian non-fiction list.

Not bad for a guy who has described himself as a “really a lousy high school student.”

A partial list of Peddie’s accomplishments include being president and CEO of MLSE for 15 years until his retirement in 2012, a role which saw him oversee all business and team operations related to the NHL’s Maple Leafs, the NBA’s Raptors, bringing the Toronto FC to Canada, the AHL’s Marlies, the operations of the Air Canada Centre, the organization’s two television channels and Maple Leaf Square.

Peddie is a University of Windsor graduate and received an honourary doctorate from there in 2001. He and wife Colleen have a home on Boblo Island as well as one in Toronto.

“I just happen to be someone who thought he had a story to tell and told it,” he said.

Peddie had a dream when he was younger of running a basketball team and did that and was also vital in bringing the Raptors to Toronto in the first place. He said “having a dream is not enough” and encouraged people to write their plans down to help them accomplish their goals.

Continued from Page 1 “Dream Job” is more than just Peddie’s life story, as he believes people can get more out of the roughly 300-page book than just his background. “It’s very much a vision and values message,” he told the River Town Times in an interview Friday morning. Leadership is another message he hopes to convey, as the book gives 22 lessons he has learned over the years. “I’ve dedicated myself to being the best leader I can be over my entire life,” said Peddie. Peddie said “very few” CEO’s had the visibility he had during his career and Peddie said that he is experiencing more anonymity since he retired.

“It’s a high visibility, high stress job,” Peddie stated.

Towards the end of his tenure with MLSE, he started embracing more of a “less is more” credo. Since retiring, he still gets recognized in places but not to the same extent.

“I’m not nearly as recognized,” he said. “I can go home on the subway now after a game. I wouldn’t do that before.”

He still cheers for the Toronto clubs he once ran but doesn’t have the same worries he once had. He maintains friendships with former Leafs GM Brian Burke, current Leafs GM Dave Nonis and current Raptors GM Masai Ujiri though notes personnel have changed quickly since retirement, particularly with the Raptors.

Peddie, who also described himself as a “voracious reader,” said he thought about writing a book earlier in his career. That idea subsided for several years before his interest was rekindled later in his career. Once his agent was secured, he spent 19 months writing the book.

It was published by Harper Collins.

“I did most of it at my home on Boblo at my countertop on my wireless laptop,” he said. Some portions of the book had to be re-written due to changing circumstances with his former organization, circumstances that included Nonis replacing Burke, Bryan Colangelo leaving the Raptors, Tim Leiweke taking over as president and CEO of MLSE.

”It’s a positive story,” Peddie stated of the overall product. Peddie added he admits his own mistakes in the book as well, stating that trying to gloss over them “would not be credible.”

While he had his critics during his time with MLSE, Peddie views his career as successful.

“I won off the playing field. I didn’t win on the playing field,” he said. “We had fun.”

Now “actively retired,” Peddie does a lot of public speaking and teaching and is planning to be active in the Toronto political scene next year though not as a candidate. Peddie said he and Colleen “adopted Amherstburg” and called it “a very livable” community.

He believes Amherstburg has many positive qualities from environment, history, affordability and environment though wishes the town would “celebrate its roots a bit more.” He is a proponent of active transportation, having donated $10,000 to the development of the Amherstburg-Essex greenway trail, and would like to see this area become less car dependent.

“Amherstburg gets a very low walkability score,” he said, noting he seldom drives when in Toronto. Peddie, a Windsor native, said he is “a big fan of Windsor-Essex” and is eager to defend his roots when necessary. “I always defend (the Windsor area). There’s good reason to defend it,” said Peddie.

Peddie’s book is available in Chapters, Costco, independent book stores or online. In addition to being fifth on the Canadian non-fiction list, it is ranked eighth overall in non-fiction in rankings published in Saturday’s edition of The Globe and Mail.

A book signing was held at Chapters Monday night but an Amherstburg book signing has been scheduled. The River Town Times will host Peddie for a book signing Saturday, Nov. 16 from 1-3 p.m. at the RTT office, located at 67 Richmond St, at the corner of Richmond and Ramsay streets.

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