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  • Friday, February 27, 1998

    Eagleson loses Order of Canada award

     OTTAWA (CP) -- Disgraced hockey czar Alan Eagleson was stripped Friday of his membership in the Order of Canada.
     The decision was reached by an eight-member Order of Canada advisory council headed by Chief Justice Antonio Lamer of the Supreme Court of Canada. Eagleson loses the recognition of the highest civilian award in Canada effective immediately.
     "The Governor General has accepted the recommendation," said a terse release from the office of Gov.-Gen. Romeo LeBlanc, which governs the awards.
     Eagleson is the first person to be removed from the Order out of more than 3,500 recipients spanning 31 years.
     Eagleson is serving an 18-month jail term for defrauding Hockey Canada, the National Hockey League, the National Hockey League Players Association and Labatt Breweries of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
     NHL player agent Rich Winter, one the earliest and most vocal critics of Eagleson in the early 1990s, said from Edmonton the decision was appropriate.
     "It's still sad to see that a man who had such a great opportunity to do so much good chose the route he chose," said Winter.
     "It's not a day to relish. It's a sad day for Canada. It's sad but it's appropriate."
     Eagleson has already been disbarred and ejected from Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, the first elected member of the hall to be tossed out.
     The Hockey Hall of Fame is also considering removing him from that institution, which would also be a first.
     Eagleson had been asked to voluntarily surrender his Order of Canada, but instead retained Toronto lawyer Brian Greenspan to fight his termination.
     The Order of Canada, instituted in 1967, includes such disparate individuals as jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, singer k.d. lang, hockey players Wayne Gretzky and Guy Lafleur, economist John Kenneth Galbraith and painter Alex Colville.
     


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