Wednesday 19th June 2019,

Hall of Shame: HHOF Appoints Former Toronto Crack Mayor Rob Ford to Board of Directors

fordleafssThe Hockey Hall of Fame has announced that it has elected Rob Ford (yes, that Rob Ford) to its Board of Directors. I’m not one for sanctimonious browbeating, and Ford has no doubt suffered enough under the suffocating media coverage that enveloped him many months ago. He’s also enduring rehab and abdominal cancer, so I’m not eager to kick a guy when he’s down, but to call this appointment puzzling and inappropriate is a massive understatement.

This is a huge embarrassment for the NHL and the HHOF. Could I have named any other member of the board of directors for the hall before this story broke? No — and that’s really how it’s supposed to be. Are we supposed to ignore the fact that Rob Ford served as mayor of Toronto for many years, and that it’s totally unrelated to the fact that a guy with literally no hockey experience or background was elected to this position without money changing hands or favors being doled out? Rest assured, Ford wants us to know that the HHOF made a great choice:

“When people call me they know they’re getting someone that’s experienced,” he said. “I’ve got season tickets to the Leafs and I’m obsessed with hockey and obviously football but hockey’s my number one sport and I’m going to try to just keep pushing it..Some people like the prestige of it, I like the action. I like rolling up my sleeves and showing up to meetings and getting it done,” he said. “What I don’t like is when people sign up and want to go to these boards and commissions and they don’t show up.” [CBC]

He’s going to show up. He has season tickets to the Maple Leafs. That’s all it takes to get appointed to the board of directors at the Hockey Hall of Fame? Was there really no one else who could have helped grow and expand the Hall of Fame into bigger and better things? No one — in our international hockey community — could take the call? Why direct all of this negative PR towards our game and the HHOF for the sake of Rob Ford? Is this just a Make-A-Wish type arrangement for a guy facing a terminal illness, or is it much more political and sinister, where Ford leveraged whatever remaining power or influence into a directorship that he didn’t deserve? Which is it, Hockey Hall of Fame? I think the fans deserve an explanation.

All that being said — it’s difficult to mess up a museum. The Hockey Hall of Fame is incredible, and getting to visit the Hall in Toronto with my Dad was one of the highlights of my entire life. Ford can’t really screw this up too badly. His position is, in all likelihood, largely ceremonial, and the HHOF isn’t in danger, they’re just guilty of making a very stupid decision, and it has all the hallmarks of a greasy, backroom-handshake deal. The Hall of Fame is supposed to be prestigious, reserved only for the best and brightest, serving as a testament to those who served the game of hockey with valor. That reputation has been deeply stained by this appointment, and the HHOF should correct this glaring and unsightly lapse in judgement.

Update 4/5 — The HHOF responded to the outcry via Twitter:

Thankfully, it does appear that no shady dealings were made in Ford’s appointment, and the city of Toronto is ultimately responsible for Ford joining the board of directors. This only makes this whole debacle only marginally better. Can I be elected to the board of directors? I haven’t smoked crack, I haven’t tackled any members of parliment, and I’ve actually played hockey. When should I show up for the first meeting?

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