Way back in 1949, when Danny Gardella, the defector to the Mexican League, shook up baseball with an antitrust suit, Columnist Ralph Allen of the Toronto Telegram wrote prophetically, "Unless the professional bosses clean house themselves, it is a mortal cinch that somebody, sometime, somewhere will step in and clean house for them." All that Eagleson did in 1966 was stumble into a dirty old house and start giving it a dusting long overdue. As Syl Apps, an old Maple Leaf of the low-pay days, puts it, "The only trouble with Eagleson is he came along 20 years too late." Bobby Hull, who pioneered for hockey in a court case two years ago and won the right to work for the rival WHA, confirms, "Al has done more for hockey in two years than anybody else has in 20."
Recently, when Eagleson was under attack on a television talk show, a student suggested that he should be embarrassed for glorifying a sport to the point where players like Hull and Orr make more than Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau. The smarty-pants student made the common mistake of forgetting that Eagleson is not a hockey monomaniac, but a multi-maniac—always the players' man, but also a Tory boss who loves to shaft the Liberal prime minister. "In my opinion," Eagleson shot back, " Bobby Hull and Bobby Orr are still underpaid, and Mr. Trudeau is overpaid."