"Hockey's got to be a great game. It survived Eagleson."

Glen Sather

"When I look back on the highs and lows of the Team Canada experience, I think the low for me was when the man who was supposed to be our leader was picked up by the Russian KGB at rink-side in Moscow - and they let him go! They should have kept him somewhere and thrown the key away."

Stan Mikita



Impressions
Eagleson  

PROFILE:
Alan Eagleson (born 04.24.1933),
Toronto-based lawyer, hockey player agent and international hockey impresario.
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto (1989, builders category).
Resigned from HHOF in 1998.

Career Hoghlights:
- One of the key organizers of the 1972 Summit Series and 1976 Canada Cup
- Sports agent of numerous NHL stars
- One of the founders of the NHL Players Association (NHLPA);
- Served as NHLPA Executive Director in 1967-1990
- Charged with racketeering and defrauding NHLPA in indictment handed down by U.S. grand jury in 1994
- Sentenced to 18 months in jail in January 1998 after pleading guilty. Served only 6 months.

EAGLESON



It happened in Moscow during Game 8 on September 28, 2002. The dramatic curve of the Series reached its peak. With 7:04 left in the series, Cournoyer ties the score. All of a sudden, a strange man appears on the ice. He doesn't wear skates or Team Canada 1972 jersey and looks like one of the tourists who took the wrong path after several drinks in the bar. He seems really upset by something and shows a weird salute to the 15,000 crowd of the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow.

Few of the average Russian sports fans knew that the name of that man was Alan EAGLESON, Canadian hockey tsar and one of the most powerful people in Canada, who was just rescued by Peter Mahovlich from the hands of Moscow police…

   TIDBIT:
Who wrote letters asking the courts to be lenient on Alan Eagleson?

     Bobby Clarke
     Paul Henderson
     Douglas Fisher
     John Turner
     Darryl Sittler
     Willard Estey
     George Gross
     Darcy McKeough

Eagleson's story is a story of a man who went from being the most powerful tycoon in the NHL and Canada to an oblivious life of a self-confessed corrupted criminal. Today, it's proven in court that for decades of his power, Eagleson was gaining hundreds of thousands of dollars by conducting multiple hockey scams - from ripping-off his clients to major international deals.

By many accounts, Eagleson story is one of the darkest pages in the NHL history. With hockey being more than just a game in Canada, his connections with the Canadian politicians make his story more than just a shameful moment in the history of pro hockey.

Ironically, the hockey world needed someone like Eagleson to break the wall around the NHL of the 1970s and to set up the most fascinating international tournaments - the 1972 Summit Series and the 1976 Canada Cup. Sometimes, I think that it was Eagleson's lack of personal and business principles that actually helped to break the hostile hockey environment in the middle of the Cold War. At least, there is no doubt that the whole Series took place in 1972 due to the involvement of Eagleson. By many accounts, he was the one who actually brought the top NHL talent to the Summit.

While doing my research, I accidentally found a web site selling a memorable Team Canada 1972 group shot where Eagleson is sitting in the middle of the front row. Interesting enough, Eagleson's name was not in the listing of the people below the picture. Regardless of his motivation, Eagleson was one of the key organizers of the Series and deserves, at least, some credit in the historical record of the 1972 Summit Series.

It happened in Moscow on September 28, 2002. With 7:04 left in Game 8, a strange looking man jumped on the ice and greeted the crowd with, what one argued, was a controversial "middle finger" salute. The whole episode was barely a good example of sports diplomacy. It was later edited out from many sports videos and TV programs. Ironically, Russian audience didn't adequately react to the "salute" because the controversial gesture actually means nothing in Russia.

Note: Special thanks to Tom Benjamin, Lloyd Davis, John Serrati and Craig Wallace for their contribution and opinions in preparation of this article.