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Worst owner of all time?

View Poll Results: Who was worse?
Ballard 88 71.54%
Wirtz 35 28.46%
Voters: 123. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
10-13-2012, 06:47 AM
  #26
htpwn
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Originally Posted by VinnyC View Post
Deep down, Ballard was very ingenious.

Why did the Leafs suck so hard under his direction? People will point him towards being cut-throat with wages; sticking his finger in every team matter; having feuds with his own players and making trades out of spite and the list go on.

But all of what he did was possible because regardless of how horrible his on ice - and even arena - product was, the seats would be filled. So why bother trying to field a competitive team if he could not do anything to make it better and still rake in massive profits? I mean, he even got away with flat out armchair GM'ing in real life by trading players he didn't like and to get back at others.

All Ballard did was run the Leafs as a for-profit business and he figured that the half-assed alternative was actually a very profitable one.
Its a popular theory but his cheapness went well beyond that.

When the roof of Maple Leaf Gardens was leaking, instead of paying to fix the leak, he simply ordered employees to put up plastic bags in the rafters to catch the falling water.

When the building needed new lights for television broadcasts, he went into HNIC's broadcast room with a fire axe, threatening to cut that night's broadcast if CBC didn't front the money for the new lights.

The building didn't have any security. Ballard simply ordered his small team of maintenance workers to fill that role. By the mid-1980's, these workers were also doing tasks such as walking and cleaning up after his dog.

Team flights during the late 1970's and 80's were on planes built in the 1940's. The carrier was used because it was the cheapest available. He also insisted that the team fly out the evening before a road game, so as to avoid him paying out any extra meal allowances.

You could go on and on.

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Old
10-13-2012, 06:51 AM
  #27
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Is Ballard not the guy who took down the picture of the Queen because he said she wasn't playing?

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Old
10-13-2012, 06:56 AM
  #28
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Originally Posted by Ceremony View Post
Is Ballard not the guy who took down the picture of the Queen because he said she wasn't playing?
Yes, to make more room for seats. I never considered it to be a big deal though.

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10-13-2012, 07:03 AM
  #29
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Bruce McNall not getting enough love in here.
He actually seems pretty good

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10-13-2012, 07:04 AM
  #30
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Wirtz was bad, Ballard was spiteful.

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10-13-2012, 07:06 AM
  #31
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To make room for more seats, Ballard removed a large portrait of Queen Elizabeth II from the Gardens. When asked about it, Ballard replied "She doesn't pay me, I pay her. Besides, what the hell position can a queen play?"

There we are. What an image

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Old
10-13-2012, 09:00 AM
  #32
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Originally Posted by allan5oh View Post
Shenkarow wasn't good either.
I am interested as to why you think this.

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Old
10-13-2012, 01:42 PM
  #33
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Why a poll with only 2 options for this?

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Old
10-13-2012, 01:45 PM
  #34
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Originally Posted by ponokanocker View Post
Why a poll with only 2 options for this?
Because these are clearly the 2 worst ever.

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10-13-2012, 02:21 PM
  #35
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As a Blackhawks fan, I loathed and will always loath Bill Wirtz.

He is, however, only (ha) the 2nd worst owner in NHL history. Ballard takes this one.

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10-13-2012, 03:00 PM
  #36
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Some of the stuff that Ballard did makes me laugh.

The NHL wanted names on the back of the players jerseys. Out of spite, he put blue names on the blue jerseys and white names on the white jerseys.

Classic.

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10-13-2012, 03:06 PM
  #37
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From Wikipedia.

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.

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Old
10-13-2012, 04:45 PM
  #38
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Originally Posted by I Believe View Post
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.
That's something a movie villain does while twirling his mustache.

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Old
10-13-2012, 04:50 PM
  #39
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The answer is John Spano.

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10-13-2012, 04:54 PM
  #40
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The answer is John Spano.
Not even close. If only Ballard just pretended to be worth more than he was..

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10-13-2012, 05:05 PM
  #41
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Originally Posted by I Believe View Post
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.
Still cheaper than prices at the ACC now! Amiright?

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Old
10-13-2012, 07:52 PM
  #42
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Originally Posted by Stick To Your Guns View Post
someone want to give a cliff notes for wirts vs ballard.
Can help on the Ballard side as I lived vicariously through some Leafs fans in that period.

"Pal Hal" was basically a showman, loudmouth and virtual cheapskate who loved attention almost as much as he (apparently) loved Yolanda MacMillan in their time together.

Among his accomplishments:
  • Refusing to stitch names on the back of player jerseys, then asking them to be the same colour as the jersey;
  • Alienating star players;
  • Fraud landing him in jail;
  • Bigotry vs. Euros, esp. Swedes/Russians. Remember him saying Inge Hammarstrom could skate into a corner with a pocket full of eggs and they'd be intact when he came out;
  • Fired Roger Neilson and then asked him to come back out as "Surprise!" moment with a paper bag on his head. Roger declined;
  • Systematically destroyed the Leafs, alienating Keon, Mahovlich, trading great players for scrub replacements;
  • Insulting toward Russians when they came to play Maple Leaf Gardens;
  • Think there were some issues with media/the Gondola over there as well;
  • Tax evasion.

    Wirtz:

    Don't know much about him except he was a reputed skinflint, didn't think much of former players, tried to siphon as much from his fanbase as possible (no 'Hawks TV) and so on.



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Old
10-13-2012, 08:55 PM
  #43
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You could go on and on.
Now that I have more time...

In 1979, Ballard hired a prostitute in an attempt to distract Roger Neilson from watching game tapes on a road trip. She couldn't seduce him and the next day Ballard publicly implied that Neilson was a homosexual.

He once banned a player agent from MLG solely because he found out that the agent was Jewish.

He called CBC reporter Barbara Frum an "ugly broad" and said women like her are only useful "on their backs." The next day, there was a feminist protest in front of MLG. In another incident, when asked why female reporters were not allowed in the dressing room, Ballard responded: "I told them once, if you want to go in there, you can. But you've got to take your clothes off, too."

Ballard never had fired anyone face-to-face. An employee would only know he or she was fired when they showed up to work and found that their parking space had been assigned to someone else.

Saskatchewan Sports HOF member Stan Obodiac worked as Ballard's public relations man for 26 years. He was underpaid in every single one of them, making a mere $20,000 annually despite holding one of the top jobs in the Leafs organization. Obodiac never complained and always defended Ballard. When Obodiac died in 1984, Ballard purposely avoided his wife at the funeral and the next morning she was awoken by a Leafs employee. He was there to collect the company car.

And then, of course, there's what happened in the Gardens' bathrooms. The most shameful incidents in not only Leaf history but NHL history as well. Ballard may not have been directly involved but does it happen if he offered fair wages to employees (thus attracting better candidates)? Does it happen if he did a background check on who he was hiring? Does it happen if he hired security or spent the money to install a proper surveillance system in the building? The mere fact that it happened under his watch is damning.

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10-13-2012, 10:56 PM
  #44
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Originally Posted by htpwn View Post
And then, of course, there's what happened in the Gardens' bathrooms. The most shameful incidents in not only Leaf history but NHL history as well. Ballard may not have been directly involved but does it happen if he offered fair wages to employees (thus attracting better candidates)? Does it happen if he did a background check on who he was hiring? Does it happen if he hired security or spent the money to install a proper surveillance system in the building? The mere fact that it happened under his watch is damning.
??? what happened?

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10-13-2012, 11:33 PM
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by htpwn View Post
And then, of course, there's what happened in the Gardens' bathrooms. The most shameful incidents in not only Leaf history but NHL history as well. Ballard may not have been directly involved but does it happen if he offered fair wages to employees (thus attracting better candidates)? Does it happen if he did a background check on who he was hiring? Does it happen if he hired security or spent the money to install a proper surveillance system in the building? The mere fact that it happened under his watch is damning.
Its all him. The perpetrators were his range mates in jail. When they got out and needed a job as ex-cons, it was perfect for Ballard who could nickel and dime them. These people then went and exploited their own "power" on children who attended MLG.

If the Leafs are cursed, its the curse of Martin Kruze.

I'm sure Ballard is looking UP at us all.

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10-14-2012, 12:11 AM
  #46
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Its all him. The perpetrators were his range mates in jail. When they got out and needed a job as ex-cons, it was perfect for Ballard who could nickel and dime them. These people then went and exploited their own "power" on children who attended MLG.

If the Leafs are cursed, its the curse of Martin Kruze.

I'm sure Ballard is looking UP at us all.
Normally when you name a curse, you dont name it after the victim.

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10-14-2012, 12:46 AM
  #47
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Ballard was a sick human, it's him easy.

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Old
10-14-2012, 03:22 AM
  #48
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Ballard.

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Old
10-14-2012, 12:13 PM
  #49
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Not even close. Ballard is the worst owner ever. I'd argue worst in sports history as well, not just NHL.

Children were molested on his watch at the Gardens. He'd put up the heat in July for concerts and jack-up the prices of all drinks. The Stanley cup banners for the Leafs were used as drop-clothes for painting the building. He was a convicted felon.

Wirtz isn't in his league.

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Old
10-14-2012, 12:15 PM
  #50
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From Wikipedia.

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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