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THN.com Blog: Past transgressions

Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals. (Getty Images)

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Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals. (Getty Images)

Here’s another reason why working for The Hockey News is so much fun: I was leafing through our archives last week for a special project we’re working on when my eyes quickly gravitated to a letter to the editor published in our Nov. 17, 1972 edition.

Here it is in its entirety:

Not only is Mike Nykoluk not the first assistant coach in NHL history as claimed in your publication, but Al MacNeil – whom reader Andrew Cohen pointed out – is not the first, either. Doug Harvey assisted Scotty Bowman in St. Louis in 1968-69 and did the same for Johnny Wilson in Los Angeles the following season.

Keith Olbermann, Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.


That’s right – Keith Olbermann, the ESPN-anchor-turned-MSNBC-political-reporter, was a THN reader.

And how appropriate that Olbermann demanded we get our facts straight; he’s still doing the same thing today – and the journalism business is far better for it.

• According to Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal (subscription required), the NHL decided in September to adopt a disclosure policy requiring team owners to make transparent all intra-league business transactions.

The new rule was instituted to avoid the kind of cluster-puck that saw disgraced former Predators owner William ‘Boots’ Del Biaggio secure secret loans from two other NHL owners (Minnesota’s Craig Leipold and Los Angeles’ Philip Anschutz) before something called “reality” set in and revealed him as a financial charlatan.

However, here’s what the league won’t tell you about its new edict: it will follow the same vague lines as its disclosure policy on player injuries.

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As such, you can expect to hear the woefully patronized Phoenix Coyotes, Atlanta Thrashers and Florida Panthers suffering from “upper bowl” problems for the foreseeable future.

• Speaking of the business of NHL owners, I’ve got to give a massive thumbs-up to Capitals check-signer-in-chief Ted Leonsis – not for anything he’s done for hockey in Washington, but for his efforts producing Nanking, a hugely compelling, alternately-heartbreaking-and-humanity-affirming documentary I finally had the chance to watch this weekend.

If you haven’t seen the movie – which details utterly horrific war atrocities committed by the Japanese army against a Chinese village in World War II - I can’t urge enough that you run out to your local rental outlet immediately and do so.

Not only does the film demonstrate that there’s no such thing as a humane war, it also chronicles the heroism of those who banded together at great personal risk to protect more than 200,000 Chinese citizens from being massacred.

Excellent work Ted.


Adam Proteau is
writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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