Tuesday

Don Gallinger

National Hockey League League president Clarence Campbell shocked the hockey world on March 9, 1948.

On that day he had the unfortunate duty to announce to the hockey world the lifetime banishments of Don Gallinger of the Boston Bruins and Billy Taylor of the New York Rangers for "conduct detrimental to hockey and for associating with a known gambler."

When newspapers first broke the story in February, 1948, both players initially denied any wrong doing. Gallinger met with Bruins GM Art Ross, then with Campbell, and proclaimed his innocence.

However the league and moreover the police were not satisfied. Eventually wire-tap evidence caught a number of phone calls made by Gallinger and Taylor to James Tamer, a Detroit gambler and paroled bank robber.

The wiretaps were illegally obtained so the police were not able to press charges against either player. However it was enough evidence for Campbell to take action.

A few years early, Toronto Maple Leaf superstar defenseman Babe Pratt was banned for life for gambling. However after publicly apologizing and proving that all bets did not involve his own team, Pratt's expulsion was overturned 16 days later. Gallinger, a very proud man, refused to admit his guilt before the public, but tried to apologize to Campbell in a private meeting, hoping that that would be enough to lift the ban.
In that conversation, Gallinger admitted on betting on 8 or 9 games, and lost all of them. He bet from $250 to $1000. He would often bet against his own team if the Bruins had some key injuries.

However Campbell refused to give him a professional pardon.

"Although as a Christian I forgive him for his dereliction, and as a man I admire him for his attempt to rehabilitate himself, as a person entrusted with a portion of the stewardship of major-league hockey, I cannot possibly bring myself to believe that he should be reinstated," one governor told Campbell.

Billy Taylor never once asked for a pardon, but Gallinger never gave up the quest for reinstatement. In 1951, 1955 and 1963 he made desperate appeals. The NHL never wavered.

Bruins legend Bobby Bauer and hockey writer Scott Young backed up the disgraced hockey player.

"Even some murderers," Young once wrote, " get parole from their lifetime sentences."

Twenty two years after the fact, the NHL finally lifted the lifetime ban. In 1970, both Gallinger and Taylor were reinstated with little fanfare.

Gallinger was a notable offensive player in his day. The nephew of former NHLers Red and Shorty Green and childhood friend of Teeder Kennedy, Gallinger scored 65 goals and 88 assists for 153 points in 222 career games. He was a heck of an athlete, even getting a try out with the Boston Red Sox.

Following his exit from hockey Gallinger relocated to Kitchener, Ontario where he raised his family and operated hotels. He died of a heart attack in 2000, just weeks shy of his 75th birthday.

Did You Know? Gallinger was also involved in another scandal of sorts. He impregnated a Canadian socialite in 1947. The son was put up for adoption and was raised in California. In 1998 the son, with the help of San Jose Sharks broadcaster Dan Rusanowsky, contacted his father for the first time.

4 comments:

Derek 12:14 AM  

Gallinger was a great hockey player - ranked 3rd in voting for rookie of the year in 1942-43 at the age of 17. His constant line-mate that season was Bep Guidolin. His line was known as the Sprout Line - Good Athlete
Young Don Gallinger, who pivoted the Sprout Line last season and wound up as one of the finds of the year, has filled out a bit. If he develops as fast this year as he did last, they’ll never be able to hold him by the time March rolls around.
Gallinger played baseball all summer with Port Colborne in an amateur league in the Niagara fruit belt. Apparently he is a promising young ball player, because he attracted the attention of the Philadelphia Athletics besides a couple of minor league clubs. We asked him about it yesterday.
“Ira Thomas scouted me and I went to Philadelphia the last week of the season to try out with the Athletics,” he said. “No, I didn’t get into the line-up..just took part in the batting and fielding practices. Mr. Mack offered me a contract but I didn’t sign – not for that kind of money. The Utica club in the Eastern League also offered me a contract.”
Gallinger is a shortstop and looks the part. He is one of those tall loose athletes, built along similar lines to Marty Marion, the Cardinals’ great shortstop. He likes hockey and baseball equally well, he says, but admits there is more money to be made in baseball if you reach the top. He isn’t thinking much about baseball, though, because if the war continues he expects to be in the Air Force by next summer. He will be 19 in April.

Derek 6:19 AM  

Maybe you could see something brewing at a young age in relation to his need for more money - He turned down an offer to play major league baseball from legendaty Connie Mack because it was too low of an offer.

Derek 6:38 AM  

Gallinger took the next 2 years off to join the war effort. On his return in his 2nd NHL season he led all Bruins (a Bruin team that went #2 in the Standings and reached a dramatic Stanley Cup final) in scoring on the third line. He was re-united with Guidolin and the third Sprout this season for its entirety was Bill Shill.
His NHL stats show 153 points in just 222 games and he was just a young man still shy of his 23rd birthday when he was expelled from the league. Truly a waste of great talent - Unfortunate but if guilty it was justifiable. Gambling was widespread in hockey among prominent businessmen, returned soldiers etc... Betting was common in all sports but it was starting to lure the players in - Gallinger was probably just the unfortunate that got caught and the league sent a strong message.

Unknown 2:49 AM  

Don Gallinger record Young Forward

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