I’m just going out on a limb here, but I’m going to say it has something to do with the events of August 9th, 1988 – the day Peter Puck traded “The Great One” to the LA Kings. Could it have been worse though?
In a new book with a title sure to fire up Edmontonians, Pocklington makes a pretty shocking revelation that, had it happened, would surely have changed the identity of our town.
Pocklington’s biography is called “I'd Trade Him Again,” and in it, he talks about a deal that fell through at the last minute between himself and former Toronto Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard that would have seen the two teams SWAP CITIES in the early 1980’s (which, of course, is when the Oilers were playing their best puck)!
Apparently Ballard was having some financial troubles at the time, and so the deal would have seen the Leafs move to Edmonton and the Oilers move to Toronto, with $50-million going from Pocklington’s pocket to Ballard’s.
Can you imagine?!
Pocklington says he wishes the deal had gone through because he would have made a killing with that Oilers team in a major market like Toronto.
What would the NHL be like today had that deal gone through?
Well, from 1982 to 1990 the Oilers made the Stanley Cup final six times, winning five Cups. In that same span, by my count, the Maple Leafs made the playoffs five times and only got out of the first round twice.
I think it’s pretty obvious that Toronto would have won that deal if it went through – and with the Leafs starting this season without a win in five games, their fans are probably crying themselves to sleep at this point.
Then again, Peter Pocklington is up on fraud charges and is trying to sell a book and Harold Ballard can’t confirm or deny because he passed away in 1990…so who knows what to believe!