Bruce McNall

From Academic Kids

Bruce McNall is a former American sports executive who once owned the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and the CFL's Toronto Argonauts.

McNall, who grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of Arcadia, California, made his initial fortune as a coin collector. He purchased the Kings in 1987 and shot to international fame the following year when his team acquired hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky, Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski from the Edmonton Oilers for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, several first-round draft choices and $15 million US. McNall soon raised Gretzky's salary from less than $1 million to $3 million, which in turn triggered a dramatic rise in NHL salaries throughout the 1990's.

In 1991, McNall, Gretzky and actor John Candy purchased the Argonauts. Prior to the 1991 season, McNall enticed Heisman Trophy winner Raghib "Rocket" Ismail away from the NFL by signing him to a four year contract for a then unheard-of $18.2 million. Although Ismail led the Argonauts to the 1991 Grey Cup championship, his presence likely did the CFL more harm than good in the long run. Ismail returned to the U.S. after two seasons in Toronto.

By the mid 1990's, McNall's business empire was collapsing. Fraudulent transactions worth about $200 million were uncovered by federal investigators and in 1996, McNall was sentenced to 70 months in a federal prison for his crimes. He remained on good terms with many of his former players, however, with Gretzky, Rob Blake, Luc Robitaille and others visiting him in prison. McNall was released in 2001 after his sentence was reduced by 13 months for good behavior.

McNall has written an autobiography titled Fun While It Lasted: My Rise and Fall in the Land of Fame and Fortune.

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