TSN, a television station that operates under the Bell Media umbrella and will also broadcast the Ottawa Senators’ regional games for the next twelve years, has awarded Senators owner Eugene Melnyk with this year’s fictitious Howard Ballard Award – that is “awarded to the owner who best contributes to the downfall of a franchise”.
The distinction was awarded by Bardown – the TSN.ca’s blog – to provide an “alternative take on the NHL’s recognition of its 2013-2014 season” on a day in which the NHL presented its annual awards.
For those of you who may ask, “Who was Harold Ballard?”, here’s the history lesson from Wikipedia:
“Shortly after taking control of the Leafs, Ballard stood trial on 49 counts of fraud, theft and tax evasion involving $205,000. He was accused by the Crown attorney of using funds from Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd. to pay for renovations to his home on Montgomery Rd., in Etobicoke. Funds were also used to renovate his Midland cottage, to rent limousines for his daughter’s wedding in 1967, and to buy motorcycles for his sons (passing off the expense as hockey equipment for the Marlboros), as well as placing money belonging to the corporation into a private bank account that he controlled along with Stafford Smythe. Ballard pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Ballard was a very hands-on owner who quickly became known for being irascible and cantankerous. He tried to micromanage the team, interfering with coaches and players. Soon after taking over as majority owner, he forced out several longtime front-office personnel and replaced them with his own men. For example, he cut the salary of chief scout and former Leafs star Bob Davidson by almost two-thirds, forcing Davidson to resign. Davidson had served in the Leafs organization for almost 40 years in various capacities.
Ballard’s opposition to European players was so virulent that a Leafs scout used Ballard’s time in jail to sign Börje Salming, one of the NHL’s first great European players.”
I have no idea how long this Bardown entry will appear on the TSN website, so here’s a screencap of what was written about Eugene:
Congratulations on the win.
UPDATE: 11:00 am, Wednesday, June 25th
The article has been pulled from the Bar Down website. I. Am. Shocked.