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.

Just Posted

New contractor to supply Ponoka with new waste carts

Resident will need to set out old carts by end of 2018, replaces coming first week of 2019

Ponoka family remembers life of Clayton Feragen

A month after his death, Clayton’s family takes time to remember his love of life

PHOTOS: CP Holiday Train pays Ponoka a visit

For the third straight year, Ponoka turns out in droves for Holiday Train performance

Hawk Tail Brewery ready to open doors

New Rimbey business to begin operation

Basketball Battle of Ponoka set for two high schools

Perhaps the first time ever in league, the Ponoka Broncs play against the St. Augustine Kings & Queens

Retired B.C. teacher a YouTube Sudoku sensation

A retired Kelowna teacher has amassed quite the following online by teaching the art of solving a Sudoku puzzle.

Three victims of ex-ski coach Bertrand Charest suing Alpine Canada

The victims are also seeking $150,000 each in punitive damages

Trudeau names four new senators, filling every seat in the Senate

Trudeau has appointed 49 senators since becoming prime minister and will have the chance to appoint more in 2019

Judge gives Michael Cohen 3 years in prison

Judge William H. Pauley III said Cohen deserved a harsh punishment for crimes including tax evasion

Humboldt Broncos, cannabis, Fortnite: Here are Canadians’ top Google searches for 2018

When celebrities died or Canada Post went on strike, Canada turned to Google

Condominium market still ‘a lot better’ than normal in Vancouver suburbs

The Fraser Valley, east of Metro Vancouver, has long been considered a more affordable haven for first-time homebuyers.

Wolf Creek Public Schools announces new communications coordinator

Vince Burke previously worked for STAR Catholic Schools

UN chief returns as climate talks teeter closer to collapse

Predictions from international climate expert, warn that global warming is set to do irreversible environmental damage.

Most Read