Excelling in two completely different sports gets my attention. I only know of one guy and he has been forgotten by his own country. Typical.
If I had to go with one athlete who accomplished both, I'd have to say Lionel Conacher.
He was a multi - sport athlete. He played hockey, football, boxing, wrestling, lacrosse, and also represented Canada in the Olympics.
He won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1934, and the Montreal Maroons in 1935. He played hockey at the NHA / NHL Level for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Montreal Maroons, New York / Brooklyn Americans, and the Chicago Black Hawks.
In football, he played for the Toronto Argonauts in 1921. He helped the Argonauts win the Grey Cup over the Edmonton Eskimos.
His brother Charlie Conacher played for the Leafs in the 30's with the infamous "Kid Line". Harvey "Busher" Jackson, Charlie Conacher, and Joe Primeau"
After his athletic years, he went into politics where he was part of the Liberal Party. He died young at on 54 years old.
Here is a fact for everyone:
He is the only player to score a touchdown, and score a goal in the same day.
He was playing a 1pm kickoff at Varsity Stadium in Toronto where he scored a touchdown. At a 7pm puck drop, he scored a goal at Maple Leaf Gardens. I believe he was playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates at the time, along with the Argos.
And yes, aside from the Lionel Conacher Award, he should be praised a lot more.
I studied a lot about him since I was a kid. Well before the internet was around. The American version of him is the great Jim Thorpe. He is a Native American who played for the Canton Bulldogs when they had a team and represented the USA at the Olympics.
Thank you my friend. You have given me hope for this country. The 'Big Train' Lionel Conacher is the only guy I have ever come across as winning both.
Red; I don't think Harold could even skate.
...it was a long shot....
...Lionel Conacher eh? Looks like I have something to research today while others babble on during an MS Teams meeting...
In my opinion, Harold Ballard to me was a the worst person ever to be in pro sports. If I could swear a lot in this post I would.
The Canadian Football Hall of Fame, along with the Hockey Hall of Fame, should remove him from those sacred Hall of Fames. Get rid of him. Remove his plaques, and toss them in the recycling bins.
...not worse than the original owner of the Washington Red*****....that guy was terrible...but Harold was pretty bad too...
You'd noticed that the Leafs haven't won since 1967 since Ballard owned the team
...ah, the Curse of Ballard
It's funny you should mention that.
In 1986, I was 10 years old, I told a lot of my friends at the time that the Maple Leafs will never win a Stanley Cup under his ownership.
You look at it now, he is the "Curse of the Bambino" Toronto style. "The Curse of Harold Ballard".
And to think he wanted to move the Leafs to Hamilton at one time just to get his way.
Rumor has it that at one point, he was trading the whole Maple Leafs roster to Edmonton, and getting all of Edmonton in return. I doubt the league would have allowed it. There was a rumor mill going on when I was a kid where Peter Pocklington was almost interested in the deal.
When Ballard owned the Ti-Cats, he was haggling with stadium officials of the city of Hamilton over Ivor Wynne. Threatened to move to Toronto.
He wanted to change the rules to American hated the Canadian content and obviously hated the stadium.
Only the CFL seems to attract the worst of the worst.
I heard about that also. What a farce Ballard was.
Dan Snider is another one. He will never be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Him and Ballard should be in the Hall of Shame.
...there should be a Hall of Shame for future generations to learn from...something tells me attendance might be low...
A little story. When I was in my 20s I used to go to lot of Leaf games. We usually had to buy scalper's tickets. OK, I took a buddy who had never been before and he was excited. He brought a pen and paper with him for autographs. We got crappy seats in a corner of the Gardens. As we were walking in just before the game there was Harold and Clancy going up the same stairs as us. My buddy was like a little kid. He ran up to Harold and said "Please Mr. Ballard, can I have your autograph ?" and tried to hand over the paper and pen. Ballard looked at him, reached into his suit side pocket and pulled out a previously signed business card and gave it to my friend. My buddy was stunned. Ballard never said a word, just walked away. Harold and Clancy must have heard my friend cursing Ballard as he walked upstairs. I was laughing the whole time. My buddy took the card and ripped it up and threw it on the floor with some good expletives. Man, he was mad. He got madder when he realized that it was the great King Clancy who was with Harold and he never asked Clancy for his autograph instead......All was good. During the 2nd period I found Punch Imlach watching the game and I got my friend to talk with him. Punch signed his autograph and shook his hand.
My buddy cursed Ballard all the way home.
Remember when Ballard wanted Roger Neilson to wear a paper bag over his head behind the bench ?
Read the Big Train's story years ago under the heading Canada's athlete of the half century . Have an old book somewhere printed in the 50's that was given to me awhile back .
Lionel Conacher Award sounds fitting for male athlete of the year by the Canadian Press .
It should have been Ballard with a paper bag instead of Nielson for being an embarrassment as an owner.