SI Vault
Edited by Sarah Pileggi
March 14, 1977
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March 14, 1977


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In the end, though, he is an optimist. He thinks that in 1980 the world in general and athletes in particular are going to look around, size things up and say, enough is enough—and that will be the end of the Olympics.

Maybe. But athletes, coaches and nations, in particular, don't like to lose. A congress of West German sports physicians met in Freiburg last October and condoned the limited use of anabolic steroids. The USOC has established a panel of medical and sports experts to study, among other topics, the uses and effects of the steroids. The panel has not committed itself one way or the other, but a trend spotter would say the U.S. is headed in the same direction as the West Germans.

The end of the Olympics is predicted as often these days as the death of the theater, but for better or worse, every few years there's another A Chorus Line and another Olympics.


Conn Smythe, the retired owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs (why isn't it Leaves?), once said, "Hockey must be a great game to survive the people who run it."

For years the NHL survived its leadership very well. But lately the league is beset with declining attendance, revenue, interest and prospects for a network TV contract.

There is no single solution to hockey's problems, but a dynamo of a new league president wouldn't hurt, and Clarence Campbell would be first in line to welcome him. Campbell is 71 years old, has been the president of the NHL for 31 years and has been trying to retire since 1973. But the committee of four owners that named itself to search for a replacement for Campbell has not come up with a single candidate of note in a year of deliberation.

Meanwhile, Campbell works on. Last week he spent a day in the league's New York office, listening to opposing views in the matter of Carol Vadnais ( N.Y. Rangers) swinging sticks at Garry Howatt ( N.Y. Islanders) and Orest Kindrachuk ( Philadelphia). With disaster looming on all sides—only about a third of the 18 NHL teams will break even this year—Campbell's entire day was devoted to handing down a five-game suspension to Vadnais.

Campbell has served the NHL long and well. Now he should be accorded the respect due an elder statesman and hockey's burdens should pass to younger, stronger shoulders.


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