I didn't know him or even who he was until he passed away, but by all reports he was a great, loyal guy who had a lot of great friends. Amazing that a guy of that caliber stayed in Winnipeg through all of those years of us not having a team, and continued to build his hockey business from here. Must have been a heck of an agent to be able to do that from Winnipeg instead of New York, LA or some other large hockey city. It's people like him that make Winnipeg seem just a little bigger and a better place to be from.
In the summer of 1993, after Paul Kariya was chosen fourth overall in the NHL entry draft, a steady stream of player agents made the trek to his North Vancouver home, hoping to represent the budding hockey superstar. Mr. Kariya was a student at the University of Maine and so technically couldn’t sign a contract until he turned pro, but that didn’t stop the parade.
The last to visit was also the biggest name in the business – Michael Barnett of the International Management Group, who represented, among others, Wayne Gretzky, the greatest player of all time.
Mr. Kariya grew up idolizing Mr. Gretzky, but mostly remembered Mr. Barnett’s parting words. “Michael said, ‘Of course, we would love to have Paul at IMG, but if Paul doesn’t go with us, he should sign with Don Baizley.’ ”
In the sometimes cutthroat world of professional sports representation, that sort of unsolicited testimonial is rare, but it also illustrated how highly Mr. Baizley was regarded in the industry.
Mr. Baizley, 71, passed away on June 27 of non-smokers’ lung cancer at his Winnipeg home following a 14-month illness.
“I never liked to use the word ‘agent’ with Don and I never considered him that way,” Mr. Kariya said. “He was family. First and foremost, he was a friend. My parents really liked the fact that Don was a lawyer and really humble and down to earth. Don was probably as far away from the Jerry Maguire type of agent – which is maybe what people in the general public think of player agents. Don was 180 degrees removed from Jerry Maguire and that ilk.”