Worst owner of all time?
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10-14-2012, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Originally Posted by
Ballard's opposition to European players was so virulent that a Leafs scout used Ballard's time in jail to sign Börje Salming, one of the NHL's first great European players.
During the 1978–79 season, with the Leafs struggling to make the playoffs, Ballard fired the team's popular head coach, Roger Neilson, against the wishes of the players. Two days later, Ballard asked Neilson to return, but with a paper bag over his head so as to conceal his identity. Neilson did return, without the paper bag.
In August 1979, to make room for private boxes, he had Foster Hewitt's historic broadcast gondola dumped into an incinerator. This was in spite of protests from the Hockey Hall of Fame, who wished to acquire it.
At the time Ballard took over, the Leafs' captain was Dave Keon, who had been with the team since 1960. Ballard and Keon never got along, and when Keon's contract expired in 1975, Ballard let it be known that Keon had no place on the team. However, he insisted on receiving compensation for Keon, and set the price so high that potential suitors shied away, which in effect had prevented Keon from joining another NHL team. Keon was forced to move to the WHA's Minnesota Fighting Saints. In 1980, when Keon received an offer from the soon-to-be dynasty New York Islanders, Ballard still owned Keon's NHL rights and blocked that deal, forcing Keon to finish off his career with the mediocre Hartford Whalers as the WHA was absorbed into the NHL. Keon never forgave Ballard for how he had been treated, and it was more than 20 years before he was reconciled with the Leafs.
Ballard booked The Beatles on each of their three North American tours from 1964–1966. On the second tour, in 1965, Ballard sold tickets for two shows, even though the agreement had been for only one. On the hot summer day of one of the concerts, Ballard ordered the building's heat turned up, shut off the water fountains, and also delayed both of the concerts for over an hour. The only available refreshments were large soft drinks from the concession stands, at triple the normal price.
Angered (or maybe jealous) by Conn Smythe's success with the club and his inability to bring a Stanley Cup to Toronto under his sole ownership, Ballard sold all of the Cup banners that had hung from the rafters of Maple Leafs Gardens for years. Ballard had managed to get his name on the Cup four times while part-owner of the team. When the Leafs moved to the Air Canada Centre in 1999, the NHL presented the team with new banners to replace those Ballard had sold.
There's so much more, the entire wikipedia article is bizarre.
That isn't being a "Bad Owner", that's being an evil, sick individual.
Regarding the Beatles incident, how can you do that to your paying customers?
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