Hockey’s Andre Lacroix wanted a franchise
Ray Kroc said “no”
Good morning, all! I hope your week is going well.
Andre Lacroix pulls no punches. Whether its sports or life, the former Hartford Whaler and broadcaster does not hold back.
A couple of weeks ago, the Hartford Yard Goats held their annual Whalers Alumni weekend, and among those to attend was Lacroix, who had a glorious career in both the NHL and the WHA. Lacroix is proud of the fact he once had 100 assists in a season, while playing center. He joined Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr as the only players to collect 100 assists in a season.
Lacroix joined me in the broadcast booth the other night and we touched on several topics, including his new book, After the Second Snowfall: My Life On and Off the Ice.
Lacroix, one of 14 children, chose the title because the snow would always melt after the first snowfall in November in Canada. It was after the second snowfall that the snow and ice were around for the winter and hockey could be played.
After he had jumped from the NHL to the WHA, Lacroix was on the New York team that moved to San Diego. Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, owned the new San Diego franchise. Earlier, he bought the San Diego Padres, preventing that team from moving to Washington. When Lacroix went to negotiate his contract with Kroc, he asked for a McDonald’s franchise, as part of the deal. Kroc gave Lacroix the same answer he gave Reggie Jackson, who was a baseball free agent looking for a deal from Kroc, “No!” But at least Lacroix asked.
Lacroix, who performed for the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks among others, wound up his career playing with Gordie Howe on the Hartford Whalers. After his playing days, he teamed up with outstanding announcer Chuck Kaiton in the Whalers broadcast booth.
Does he still follow sports today? “No,” Lacroix answered emphatically. He said sports has become too intertwined with politics, and he doesn’t like that. He wants to watch sports as an escape, and he says that doesn’t happen anymore. As I said, the man pulls no punches.
Texas and Oklahoma bolt
By the time you read this, it may be made official that Texas and Oklahoma have bolted the Big 12 for the SEC. There could be legal maneuverings to prevent the exodus but when schools want to leave a conference, it usually happens, despite the outcry.
Of course, the root of the schools’ desire to leave is the usual cause, money. Though Texas and Oklahoma may have to pony up big to pay penalties to the Big 12, in the long run, both schools stand to make big bucks, particularly since the SEC has inked a $300M per year deal with ESPN that begins in 2024. A proposed expansion of the College Football Playoffs is also at play here.
It remains to be seen whether the departure of Texas and Oklahoma will set off the conference-jumping merry-go-round by other schools, but don’t be surprised if it does.
Baseball trading deadline is firm
For baseball fans, the media, websites, etc. this is always an exciting week. The click bait mavens have a field day with their misleading headlines, proposing trades and writing headlines to appear as if the deals have already been consummated.
This week the Major League Baseball trading deadline is 4 p.m on July 30 rather than the usual July 31. The reason is with July 31 falling on a Saturday, the commissioner did not want players being held out of day games, if they were the subject of trade talks. Something about the integrity of the game, I guess. Also, there will be no waiver deals permitted, as in years past, when clubs could make a deal with teams through Aug. 31, so players would be eligible for post season play. In other words, it is deal this week or good luck. Enjoy.
And speaking of “enjoy,” enjoy your week, and as always, thank you for supporting my newsletter. If you feel fit to share it with someone, I would be most appreciative.