Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/28/14 at 12:51 PM ET
from Jessica Smith Cross of MetroNews,
The hockey player’s name is perhaps said more often than any other in Canada — no, it’s not Wayne Gretzky.
In all of the talk of what Burger King Worldwide Inc.’s acquisition of Tim Hortons means for Canada’s iconic brand, there’s little mention of Tim Horton, the man — a beloved Stanley Cup-winning defenceman for the 1950s and ’60s Maple Leafs, who died driving drunk near St. Catharines, Ont., in 1974.
“Horton is a ghost in the corporate machine,” said Douglas Hunter, author of a book on Miles Gilbert (Tim) Horton and another on Tim Hortons. “He has pretty much disappeared from the store that bears his name.”
Prior to his death, the coffee chain had begun to “disengage” Horton from the restaurant, said Hunter, as Horton was never comfortable as a “persona” and the company thought it was better business strategy to focus on the food. The phasing out of Horton the man continued in 1974 after the circumstances surrounding the Tim’s founder’s death mired the chain’s namesake in controversy.
On Feb. 21, 1974, Horton, who then played for the Buffalo Sabres, was heading to Buffalo for treatment after taking a puck to the jaw and stopped to meet with his partner in the doughnut shop chain, Ron Joyce, said Hunter.
At 4 a.m. Horton went off the road at high speed. Alcohol and pills were found at the scene, but at the time whether or not he was driving drunk was publicly disputed and unconfirmed.
Below, watch a Legends of Hockey feature on Tim Horton...
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