Alexandre Daigle, Pat Falloon and the Top 10 Canadian Sports Busts

Alex ZakrzewskiContributor IOctober 17, 2011

Alexandre Daigle, Pat Falloon and the Top 10 Canadian Sports Busts

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    We Canadians have produced more than our share of great athletes and memorable sports moments.

    However, we've also had a few that only come up in the punchlines of bad jokes.

    Here are some names and moments that will make any Canadian sports fan cringe.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Brett Lindros

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    The Islanders were hoping to get another Eric Lindros when they drafted his younger brother Brett ninth overall in the 1994 NHL Draft.

    What they got instead were two goals and seven points in 51 career games.

    Plagued by concussions and an overall lack of talent, Brett retired in 1996 leaving many hockey fans to wonder if he and Eric are really related. 

Dave Chyzowski

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    After an impressive junior career, Dave Chyzowski was selected second overall (after Mats Sundin) by the Islanders in the 1989 NHL draft.

    In his five seasons with the club, the Edmonton native played in only 118 games. 

    His “career year” was 1990/91 when he finished the season with five goals and 14 points in 56 games.

    In 1996, Chyzowski attempted a comeback in with the Chicago Blackhawks, but it only lasted eight unproductive games.

    With no team willing to touch him, the once sought-after prospect left to play in Germany and Austria, where apparently he was pretty good.

Tom Magee

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    An accomplished bodybuilder, power lifter and martial artist, Winnipeg’s Tom Magee seemed destined for greatness when he entered into professional wrestling in the mid-1980s.

    Trained by the legendary Stu Hart, Magee came to the attention of Vince McMahon and the WWF in 1986, when he was booked in a non-televised match against an up-and-coming heel by the name of Brett Hart. 

    After back flipping into the ring, Magee wowed WWF management to such an extent that Vince McMahon publicly declared, “That’s my next champion” and signed him on the spot.

    As any wrestling fan knows, “The Hitman” is arguably the greatest technical wrestler of all time.  Known throughout his career for being able to have a great match with a broomstick, Hart carried Magee through his entire performance.

    Once he was on the road facing less talented wrestlers, Magee’s lack of in-ring abilities became shockingly apparent.

    They continued to worsen to such an extent that by 1987, the WWF had completely given up him and he was out of wrestling entirely by the 1990’s.

    Interesting side note: 

    In 1991, Magee had a small role as a tough guy biker in a move called “Stone Cold.”  His character is ultimately beaten unconscious by the film’s protagonist, played by another legendary bust–Brian Bosworth.  I guess busts stick together.

Robert Stanfield

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    He may not have been an athlete, but his career was definitely ruined by a lack of athletic ability.

    1974 was an election year in Canada and it looked like things just might workout for Progressive Conservative candidate Robert Stanfield.

    “Trudeaumania” had long worn off, inflation was spiralling and the West and Maritimes were firmly in the Conservative’s back pocket.

    Then at a campaign stop in North Bay, Ontario, someone threw Stanfield a football.

    Not only did he drop it, but he did so in such a way that Canadians questioned whether he could catch a balloon.

    Photographer Doug Ball caught the moment on camera and it quickly appeared in newspapers across the country.

    Canada cringed, Trudeau won and Bobby Stanfield quickly faded from relevance.

    “Arrrghhh, my groin!”

Greg Joly

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    Selected First Overall by the Washington Capitals in the 1974 Amateur Draft, Joly was the expansion club’s first ever draft pick.

    In two injury plagued seasons with the Caps, Joly had nine goals and 33 points in 98 games. 

    Traded to the Red Wings in 1976, the Calgary native spent his remaining seven seasons bouncing between the NHL and the juniors accomplishing nothing worth mentioning.

Ivan Chiriaev

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    “The NBA wants Ivan Chiriaev.  The NBA needs Ivan Chiriaev.”

    That’s what Chiriaev told reporters in 2004 when they asked him if he was ready to make the jump from Ontario high school basketball directly to the NBA.

    On paper, the hype surrounding the 7-foot-1 Russian immigrant was not entirely unwarranted.

    His numbers at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Oakville, Ontario–26.8 points, 17.3 rebounds and 9.2 assists–were impressive.

    The problem was they were completely made-up.

    After publicly stating that he could play all five positions and was better than Dirk Nowitzki, Chiriaev was given a chance to impress NBA scouts at the Adidas All-Canadian Game.

    While there is no record as to exactly how badly he disappointed them, the only professional basketball he ever saw was in Holland and back home in Mother Russia. 

Pat Falloon

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    The San Jose Sharks’ first ever draft pick, Pat Falloon was drafted second overall (behind Eric Lindros) in the 1991 NHL Draft.

    Although he was very much the “consolation prize” in a draft heavily-focused on Lindros, the expansion Sharks saw Falloon as a franchise building block.

    Unfortunately, his 25 goal rookie season proved to be the best of his NHL career.

    Traded by the Sharks in 1995, Falloon played for four more teams before finishing his NHL career in 2000 with 143 goals and 322 points in 575 games.

CFL USA

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    It just sounds stupid.

    After the World League of American Football folded in the early 1990s, the Canadian Football League expanded into the US hoping to capitalize on small, but football-starved markets.

    Of the seven US teams that were introduced into the league between 1993 and 1996, not one lasted more than two seasons.

    American audiences didn’t take to the nuances of Canadian football and without a major US television network contract, the venture was arguably doomed from the start.

    The only team to have any success both on and off the field was the Baltimore Stallions. 

    Originally called the Baltimore Colts (they were forced to change their name after a legal battle with the Indianapolis Colts) the Stallions attracted decent crowds and made it to the Grey Cup in both of their two seasons, winning in 1995.

    However, the relocation of the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1995 was the death knell of the experiment.

    Aware that they couldn’t compete against the NFL, the Stallions moved to Montreal leaving the San Antonio Texans as the last CFL USA team. 

    Not wanting to be the only franchise south of the border, the Texans voluntarily folded. 

Tony Mandarich

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    At 6 foot 5, 300 pounds, Oakville, Ontario native Tony Mandarich seemed to posses all the qualities of an elite offensive lineman going into the 1989 NFL Draft.

    No one was surprised when the Green Bay Packers picked him second overall behind Troy Aikman and ahead of future hall of famers Barry Sanders (third) and Deon Sanders (five).

    However, the First Team All-American out of Michigan State quickly revealed an attitude problem the size of his physique. 

    After holding out on the Packers, and amid swirling steroid rumours, he rejoined the team one week before the regular season, just in time to reveal an inability to pass-block and an addiction to painkillers. 

    Following three forgettable seasons, he was cut in 1992 and retreated to his Michigan home where he delved into a spiral of drug and alcohol abuse.

    In 1996, having cleaned up, he was signed by the Indianapolis Colts where he played four seasons, displaying some ability until injuries ultimately forced his retirement. 

    Nicknamed both the “Incredible Bulk” and the “Incredible Bust” by Sports Illustrated, Tony Mandarich is the highest drafted Canadian in NFL history.

Alexandre Daigle

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    Alexandre Daigle was so highly touted going into the 1993 NHL Draft, that the Ottawa Senators were accused of purposely tanking games to secure the first overall selection.

    Selected ahead of Chris Pronger (second), Paul Kariya (fourth) and Rob Niedermayer (fifth), Daigle was named the face of the Senators' franchise before even lacing up his skates.

    However, despite receiving the largest starting salary in NHL history–five years, $12.5 million Daigle quickly began to disappoint.

    A lack of on ice production, coupled with an active celebrity nightlife, quickly raised questions in Ottawa as to his effort and commitment.

    Thoroughly out produced by teammates Alexei Yashin and Daniel Alfredsson, Daigle seemed determined to alienate Senators fans when he dressed up as a nurse for a Score hockey cards advertisement.

    After four and a half disappointing years with the club, Daigle was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers having managed only two 20 goal seasons and 172 points in Ottawa.

    The Flyers traded him to the Oilers who traded him to the Lightning who traded him to the Rangers who put him on waivers in 2000.

    By age 25, the “can’t miss star” of the 1993 Draft was out of hockey all together.

    After revealing in a radio interview that he never wanted to play hockey to begin with, Daigle moved to Hollywood where he started his own promotion company and played beer-league hockey with Cuba Gooding Jr.

    In 2002, he abruptly returned to the NHL signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Released after one year, Daigle joined the Minnesota Wild where he led the team in scoring in 2003/04 and was the club’s nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

    By 2006, the “next Mario Lemieux” was once again without a team, and he left for Europe having finished his NHL career with 327 points in 616 games.