25 Most-Hated Non-Players in NHL History
When hockey fans think of the most hated people in NHL history, the focus is usually on the players.
Occasionally however, it shifts to people on the other side of the game. Coaches, general managers, referees, television personalities and a certain commissioner who has locked out the league three times have all felt the hate from fans.
Whether it's a bad trade by a GM or the way a coach has acted with the media, all these people have done something that has drawn the ire of fans. It could just be from a singular team's fan base or it could be felt league-wide.
Whatever the reason, these people have more than a few people not on their side.
Five relocated teams.
Are there any other reasons on why Gary Bettman might be the most hated man in sports right now?
There is no question that Bettman has grown the NHL. It's improved immensely under his reign as commissioner, but it's also pretty easy to blame him for everything that's wrong with the NHL.
Don Cherry is loved by a lot of people, but there might be at least the same amount of people that hate him for his outspoken opinions. There's no question that Cherry's way of getting his opinion across can rub people the wrong way and there is no other reason that he's hated.
Here's a rule about this list: If you've been convicted of a major crime, you're on the list. Alan Eagleson is the first person in that situation.
While he was the founder of the NHLPA and played a big part in the 1972 Summit Series, the fact that he was convicted of countless crimes from fraud to embezzlement is more than enough to put him on the list.
John Ferguson, Jr.
Mats Sundin. Bryan McCabe. Tomas Kaberle. Pavel Kubina. Darcy Tucker.
These five players, also known as "The Muskoka Five", were all given no-trade clauses by John Ferguson, Jr. during his reign as general manager. Those five contracts caused a lot of trouble with the Leafs and are a big reason why the Leafs are still not making the playoffs.
Add in the fact that Ferguson traded Tuukka Rask to Boston for... Andrew Raycroft, and the hate just keeps on coming.
Brian Burke might be one of the best general managers in the NHL's history. He built the Vancouver Canucks largely into what they are today. He won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. While he hasn't had much success in Toronto, the team is obviously better than they were before Burke arrived.
It's the way that Burke does his job that makes him hated. He's cocky, pompous and any other word you can come up with for overconfidence.
Well, let's see. His way with the media. His lack of playoff success. His lack of even making the playoffs the past few seasons.
There's plenty of reasons to hate Ron Wilson. Choose one.
It might only be because of one moment, but that one moment put Kerry Fraser right in the crosshairs of Toronto Maple Leaf fans.
If you mention the 1993 Maple Leafs run in the playoffs to any fan, you will get the story of how Fraser missed the obvious high stick that Wayne Gretzky gave Doug Gilmour.
If the Leafs had gone on to beat the LA Kings in that series, Fraser might have escaped the fans' hate. Unfortunately for him, the Leafs were eliminated from that series and the rest, you can say, is history.
If you come out of a hockey lockout looking worse than Gary Bettman, you deserve a spot on this list.
This is a little bit of a cheat with Milbury being a former player, but the qualifications that put him on this list all have to do with what he did while he was the general manager of the New York Islanders.
Zdeno Chara. Wade Redden. Bryan Berard. Eric Brewer. Darius Kasparaitus. Bryan McCabe. Olli Jokinen. Todd Bertuzzi. Tim Connolly. Raffi Torres. Zigmund Palffy. A first-round pick that became Jason Spezza. Tommy Salo. Roberto Luongo.
That is the list of impact players that Milbury traded out of Long Island. That's enough to land him on the list, but what really does it is the drafting of Rick DiPietro ahead of Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik.
Another former player whose reputation was hit when he became a manager. Bobby Clarke was a beloved Flyer as a player, but as their general manager, he could have done better.
His very public dispute with Eric Lindros is the biggest reason that Clarke is on the list.
Glen Sather's free-spending ways might finally be starting to work out, bet let's not forget that this is the same man who signed Chris Drury, Scott Gomez and Wade Redden to outrageous contracts.
If there is any reason for Don Koharski to be hated, it's for refusing to work an NHL playoff game after an incident with then-New Jersey Devils coach Jim Schoenfeld. It caused the NHL to have to use replacement officials (the NFL knows how that works out) dressed in horrendous yellow practice jerseys.
John Ferguson Jr. looks like a saint in Leaf fans' eyes next to Harold Ballard. Convicted of criminal charges even before taking control of the Maple Leafs, Ballard pretty much wrecked the Leafs reputation in the '60s, '70s and '80s.
He traded Wayne Gretzky. Enough said.
He traded Patrick Roy. Enough said.
Hamiltonians might love him for trying to bring an NHL team to the city on multiple occasions, but as for the rest of the league, he's loathed for trying to do business the way it's not supposed to be done.
Peter Forsberg. Ron Hextall. Chris Simon. Mike Ricci. A first-round pick that became Jocelyn Thibault was eventually traded for Patrick Roy.
That is most of the return that the Quebec Nordiques got in the trade that sent Eric Lindros to Russ Farwell's Philadelphia Flyers. Farwell must have thought he was getting someone better than Wayne Gretzky in the deal.
The Flyers never made the playoffs under Farwell's reign as general manager. The Nordiques went on to move to Colorado and won two Stanley Cups.
John Tortorella is a good coach, there is no denying that. It's his harsh delivery no matter who he's talking to, whether it be his players or certain members of the media, that puts him on the list.
If Tortorella were to lighten up just a bit, he would be looked upon with a little less hate.
Or as I like to call him, "Captain Obvious". Whenever Pierre McGuire is calling a game, you know there will be more than a few instances where he talks about something so obvious that it's astounding that he brings it up.
What Ballard did to the Leafs, Bruce McNall did to the Kings, although on a much smaller scale. McNall pretty much put the Kings into bankruptcy in the '90s.
Being convicted of conspiracy and fraud is the reason he's on the list, though.
Randy Cunneyworth has done nothing himself to be hated, it's the reaction of Montreal fans and the entire province of Quebec to the hiring of Cunneyworth that places him on the list.
He might think it's a sign of respect, but the way he calls everyone "Mister" just gets on everyone's nerves.
In the whole Todd Bertuzzi/Steve Moore incident, it was believed that then-Vancouver head coach Marc Crawford wanted revenge for what Moore did to Vancouver captain Markus Naslund.
It is because of that feeling and association that Crawford is hated.
Whenever you don't let home games be broadcast on local television, there's something wrong with you.
He was also blamed for letting the Blackhawks best players of the '90s leave via free agency or trade because of his frugality.
Cliff Fletcher embodies the plague that has surrounded the Toronto Maple Leafs for years. Fletcher's "draft schmaft" quote is infamous around the NHL, and the Leafs have always had a general manager that has gone somewhat by that way of thinking.