All these years later, Alan Eagleson is still making headlines. The former executive director of the NHLPA (a position now held by Donald Fehr) is being forced to mark the 40th anniversary of his greatest triumph, the 1972 Summit Series, at home alone.
The ’72 series made him a household name. And then, two decades later, came his dizzying fall – dozens of charges of embezzlement, fraud, racketeering and professional misconduct. He pleaded guilty to reduced charges in 1998 and spent six months in Mimico medium-security prison. Considering some accusations involved skimming pension and disability benefits for retired players, it’s little surprise some don’t want him at the party.
According to Mirtle, the “some” that don’t want him at the party are Phil Esposito, Brad Park, and Dennis Hull.
The rest, including Bobby Clarke, think the 79-year-old deserves an invite.
“This pissing around with Eagleson, that to me just broke the team,” Clarke said. “You don’t do what they’re doing to a team member. That’s not my version of a team. The majority of players feel the way I do, but these two guys have threatened to destroy the team. … Eagleson is part of that team, maybe the biggest part of anybody.”
It’s a tough situation. Sort of like the debate over whether Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. Does the good outweigh the bad? Has a high enough price already been paid?
Anyway, here’s an interview with Eagleson halfway through the ’72 Series and shortly after Vancouver fans booed Team Canada in Game 4.