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

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Alberni Valley, West Coast First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Kitchen fire sends one to hospital in Port Alberni

Apartment block evacuated after sprinkler system was set off

Qualicum Beach man arrested over racist incident at Tseshaht First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP said the man turned himself in

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read