Offside: The Harold Ballard Story
Director: Jason Priestley
Genre: Documentary, Sports
Often accused of being too cheap to actually care if he put a Cup-winning team on the ice, Ballard quickly learned that in a hockey-starved town like Toronto, he could sell out every seat, regardless of the caliber of play on the ice. As the poster for the film points out: Ballard didn’t invent greed. He perfected it. After taking over Maple Leaf Gardens, for example, he quickly replaced all the existing benches with smaller seats and less legroom, knowing he could sell every seat during every Maple Leaf game, regardless of the comfort level of the fans. His comments on the players (he refused to succumb to his stars’ financial demands), would not be tolerated today. His curmudgeonly persona was one that he took pride in nurturing, choosing to keep his charitable and philanthropic activities a secret.