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Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership

Michael Friisdahl

Michael FriisdahlMichael Friisdahl
President and Chief Executive Officer of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE)

MLSE is one of the world’s premier sports and entertainment companies as owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto FC (MLS), the Toronto Argonauts (CFL), as well as each franchise’s development team, and hosts more than 3.8 million fans each year at its venues. In addition to its sports franchises, MLSE’s LIVE division (a joint venture with Live Nation) has established the Scotiabank Arena as one of the leading music and entertainment venues in the world. MLSE’s entertainment properties include popular restaurant destinations Real Sports and E11even. As part of the company’s facilities management, MLSE owns and operates Scotiabank Arena, and has also invested in and manages five of Toronto’s sports facilities — Coca-Cola Coliseum, BMO Field, Lamport Stadium, the Ford Performance Centre and the OVO Athletic Centre. The very successful MLSE Foundation works to continue to change young people’s lives through the power of sport.

Michael previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada’s Leisure Group since it was formed in 2012 where he led the launch of Air Canada rouge, the company’s successful leisure airline. Combined with Air Canada Vacations tour operation, the Air Canada Leisure Group was an important contributor to Air Canada’s very successful transformation. Prior to joining the Air Canada executive team, Michael was CEO of Thomas Cook North America and a member of the international Group Executive Board of Thomas Cook Group plc. As a partner and President and CEO of The Holiday Network, he continued to grow the business until its acquisition by Thomas Cook Group plc (formerly MyTravel plc).

Michael currently serves on the board for Entertainment One (eOne) as well as the SickKids Foundation cabinet. In addition, Michael is on the fundraising committee at SickKids, responsible for raising $1.3 million to build a new Hospital building. Michael is also the Campaign Cabinet Chair for the Scarborough Health Network and he also serves as a member of the Mercedes-Benz Canada Advisory Council.