Eric Lindros accomplished a lot in his career. He was a presence on the ice – a force to be reckoned with. His accomplishments are being recognized as he is inducted into thre Hockey Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately his career was cut short by concussions. Today he serves as an advocate for research and standardizing practices on how concussions dealt with. He speaks on the matter and has been a part of a group looking to establish a standard concussion protocol for athletes and teams in Canada.
But to many he continues to be most connected to his entry into the National Hockey League.
The year was 1991 and Lindros was chosen first overall in that year’s NHL Entry Draft by the Quebec Nordiques but he refused to play for the Nordiques. Lindros had signaled in advance that he would never play for the Nordiques, citing the city’s isolation, lack of marketing potential, and French character; the team selected him anyway. Nordiques President Marcel Aubut publicly announced that they would make Lindros the centrepiece of their franchise turnaround, and refused to trade Lindros, saying that he would not have a career in the NHL as long as he held out. Because of Lindros’ popularity and hype, it is alleged that NHL President Gil Stein intervened to get the Nordiques to trade him, as it would otherwise damage the image of the League. While he awaited a trade, Lindros spent the time playing with the Oshawa Generals and also participated in the 1992 Winter Olympics, winning a silver medal with Canada.
Today Lindros claims that “My decision not to play for the Nordiques was solely based on the majority owner. It had nothing to do with anything other than that,” Lindros says. “It had nothing to do with language; my wife is [French-Canadian]. It had nothing to do with the size of the population. It was solely based on ownership. That’s about as clear as I can make it.”
Most of that history is not now being recalled as his time on the ice is what is being invoked.