As told to: Joe PackOnce, I received a phone call from Harold Ballard from Millhaven Penitentiary. He said, “You interested in coaching in Toronto?” and I said “Yeah,” and he said “What’ll it take?” and I told him, and he said, “You’re hired.” The last I’d remembered of Harold was we were in the dressing room and we’d won the Stanley Cup and he had a glass of champagne and he was holding it up, giving me a drink of it. I didn’t know him real well. He lived out very close to where we moved when we came to Toronto, out in the west end at the Kingsway. His wife came down and visited my wife who was expecting a baby and offered help. She was just great, Mrs. Ballard, so we thought pretty highly of him.
They’re very hard on coaches here in Toronto, no question. It used to be that a coach was a coach. It’s a lot different today. The coach is there to be fired. The coach has to deal with (highly paid) players and they may have done nothing. Are they gonna listen to the coach? For cryin’ out loud, it’s little different world today.
JOE PACK is a freelance writer based in Toronto and a rec-league rent-a-goalie.
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