The Toronto Maple Leafs have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967. The reason? Two words: Harold Ballard.
The curmudgeonly owner ruined the team in the ’70s and ’80s with a tight-fisted reign of error that played out almost daily in that era’s sports pages. The man who caused Leaf’s captain Darryl Sittler to rip the “C” off his jersey, ran the team from prison for over a year and who lived in his arena finally gets the documentary he deserves.
It is all thanks to this episode’s podcast guests: executive producer Michael Geddes (Lone Eagle Entertainment) and Jason Priestley, who produces, directs and narrates.
Listen as the two tell how they met to develop a scripted series before realizing they better do the doc first. Priestley tells of interviewing many of his hockey heroes, including Sittler, Lanny McDonald, Wendel Clark, Tiger Williams, Rick Vaive and other players of the day. Don Cherry, Alan Eagleson and sportswriters such as Mary Ormsby, Allen Able and Stephen Brunt also weigh in on the tumultuous Ballard years.
Don’t wait for Leafs to win another a Stanley Cup. Listen to this epic tale of woe now by clicking on the blue and white arrow above. A second podcast episode will follow later this week featuring a third executive producer on this docuseries, Canadian screenwriter/producer Chuck Tatham. Tatham and company still hope to produce a scripted series based on Ballard’s life. Me, I can see John Goodman in the lead role but, like Priestley, I’m a little stumped as to who would play Ballard’s last friend, King Clancy.
After you listen to the podcasts, get set for “Offside: The Harold Ballard Story” premiering Sunday, January 22 on CBC and CBC Gem.