In this March 22, 1979 file photo, Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider, left, talks with NHL president John Ziegler before an NHL Board of Governors meeting in Chicago. (File photo/The Canadian Press)

IN HOCKEY

John Ziegler, 4th president of NHL, dies at 84

Ziegler was living in Florida, and the cause of death was not immediately known

John Ziegler Jr., the fourth president of the NHL who was instrumental in expanding the league by bringing in four teams from the rival World Hockey Association, died Thursday. He was 84.

The NHL confirmed Ziegler’s death on its website. Ziegler was living in Florida, and the cause of death was not immediately known.

Ziegler helped broker the 1979 deal that moved the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Quebec Nordiques and Hartford Whalers into the NHL from the folding WHA. While the Jets, Nordiques and Whalers eventually relocated, the Oilers quickly found success in the NHL, winning four Stanley Cups between 1984 and 1988 on a superstar-laden team led by Wayne Gretzky.

The Oilers posted a picture of Ziegler handing the Stanley Cup to a beaming Gretzky on the team’s Twitter feed.

Contentious labour talks between the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association over playoff bonuses, free agency and pension funds led to the players voting to strike in the final weeks of the 1991-92 season. The strike lasted 10 days.

League owners unhappy with the labour agreement ousted Ziegler two months later.

Gil Stein took over as interim president after Ziegler’s departure. The position of NHL president effectively ended with Ziegler, as Gary Bettman became the NHL’s first commissioner on Feb. 1, 1993.

Ziegler was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987.

“From 1977 until 1992, as just the fourth president in NHL history, John oversaw the growth of the League from 18 to 24 teams, including the 1979 addition of four teams from the WHA,” Bettman said in a statement. ”He was instrumental in the NHL’s transition to becoming a more international League . during his tenure, the share of European-born players in the NHL grew from two to 11 per cent, players from the former Soviet Union first entered the League and games between NHL and European clubs became a nearly annual tradition.

“On a personal note, John provided invaluable counsel during my early days as Commissioner and was always generous with his time.”

Ziegler, a native of Grosse Pointe, Mich., served as vice-president, general counsel and alternate governor of the Detroit Red Wings from 1970 to 1977 before being elected as the NHL’s fourth president, and the first American to hold the post. He succeeded Clarence Campbell, who had held the position since 1946.

“We mourn the passing of John Ziegler. His positive imprint on the game of hockey cannot ever be overstated. But more than that, John was a friend, to me and to my family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to John and his family,” Chicago Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said in a statement.

“While he will be missed, his legacy and contributions to our sport will carry on forever.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Overall house sales drop in the northwest

COVID-19 pandemic slowed market activity

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read