Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/02/14 at 09:35 AM ET
Even after 35 years, this one stands out:
Phil Esposito. Shortly after he hoodwinked the NHL into granting him the Tampa Bay Lightning expansion franchise (which finally landed in saner, richer hands), Esposito and the Lightning came to Toronto for their first game against the Maple Leafs. My assignment was to get a question-and-answer out of him.
For some reason, perhaps connected to his turn as a star for Team Canada in the 1972 Soviet series a good 20 years earlier, Esposito hated the Toronto media. It was apparent the minute he walked in the door that night.
He reluctantly agreed to the interview. He started to answer the first question and then said, “The hell with this. I’m not answering any of your effing questions,” and walked off. This was between the first and second period. After the game, he was approached by Bob McKenzie, who worked for the Toronto Starat the time. There was an exchange of words and Esposito punched him. McKenzie called the cops and had Esposito charged with assault. The charges were dropped when Espo apologized.
Told by David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail in an interview with On The Fourth Floor, where you can read more from Shoalts.
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