Canucks and Beyond

Remembering Harold

06/25/2008 at 5:17pm EDT

Reacting to the current bad behavior in the NHL owners’ boxes lately (i.e. Samueli suspended by the NHL; Del Biaggio’s financial chaos, etc) Jamie Fitzgerald of About.com reminds us that modern NHL owners are amateurs when it comes to such shenanigans. Remember Harry?

All very shady. But today’s NHL shysters are mere amateurs compared to the great Harold Ballard. Pal Hal was no ordinary crook. He did it in style and had a great time along the way.

And nobody - nobody - knew how to run a hockey team into the ground like Harold.

Even better, Fitzgerald reminds me of a scandalous interview that Ballard once gave CBC’s Barbara Frum. An absolute classic:

CBC

It’s one of Barbara Frum’s most famous interviews. It’s March 1979 and she is on the phone with Harold Ballard, the controversial and outrageous owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and with Globe and Mail columnist Dick Beddoes.

A fiery Ballard enrages Canadians when says women on the radio are a joke and implies that the best position for them is on their backs.

Ballard eventually hangs up on Frum but not before he tells her to keep quiet and berates her for interrupting him. Frum remains pleasant and good-natured throughout the abusive interview.

The next night, Frum reads a letter to Ballard forgiving him for his sexist outbursts. She signs the “Dear Harold” letter from “Your favourite BROAD-caster.”

The clip is available here and well-worth taking a few minutes to check out.

Classic Ballard—so unapologetically offensive, it’s actually entertaining.

Note: More on Ballard, “The NHL’s Nominee for the Worst Sports Owner Ever,” can be read here.

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