Canucks Grab Gillis

This is Mike Gillis as a Baltimore Skipjack. He was a very high pick (5th overall) his draft year but injuries were a problem all down the line. He suffered a leg injury October 1, 1976 and missed all but 4 games that season. He missed part of 77-78 with a broken collarbone, and tore knee ligaments during Colorado’s 1978 training camp. He missed half of 1979-80 season due to complications from his 1978 knee surgery. He missed the entire 1984-85 season with a broken leg, an injury suffered in Boston’s 1984 training camp (September 1984). Much of the info here is courtesy Hockey Draft Central.

When his playing career ended Gillis went about the hard work of becoming a lawyer and then became a player agent. He was a finalist for the job as Atlanta Thrashers’ first general manager, but lost out to Don Waddell in June 1998.

Among other things we know about him:

  1. Gillis has negotiated some of the biggest contracts in NHL history.
  2. He has been extremely successful in a wicked business over a long period of time, with clients ranging from Pavel Bure, Tony Amonte, Mike Richter, Valeri Bure, Bobby Holik, Pat Verbeek, Ulf Dahlen, Peter Zezel to Markus Naslund and recently Sam Gagner.
  3. What makes Gillis’ success as an agent even more remarkable is the fact that during his own playing days, he was represented by the notoriously corrupt Alan Eagleson, who later went to jail for defrauding many of his clients, including Gillis. After Gillis’ stopped playing, he was eligible to receive disability insurance payments from the NHL. Although Eagleson had no right to do so, he convinced Gillis to pay him 15 percent of his disability money. He lied to Gillis in claiming that he had negotiated the a special disability deal, getting more money than Gillis would have otherwise received. Over 10 years later, in 1997, Gillis successfully sued Eagleson for $570,000, most of which went to cover his own legal costs for pursuing the lawsuit. Later in his own career as an agent, Gillis continued to speak out against corruption in his condemnation of the practice of giving lavish gifts or cash to young players in order to earn their business. (Source: Hockey Draft Central).

I’m going to find it very difficult to dislike Mike Gillis.

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8 Responses to "Canucks Grab Gillis"

  1. heed says:

    so does this mean he will drop his entire client list?

  2. CrazyCoach says:

    Gillis has no choice but to drop every last one of his clients. Just a slight conflict of interest.

    Gillis will do a good job in Vancouver, but to hear Nucks fans (cluless as they are) talk, you’d think Gillis came straight from managing a pee wee house league team.

  3. Bruce says:

    I’m going to find it very difficult to dislike Mike Gillis.

    Let me help you with that, LT. Repeat after me: Mike Gillis, Vancouver

    Seriously, let’s hope Gillis brings the winds of change that franchise so desperately needs. He can start by addressing their style of play, which brings added dimension to the term “long-suffering fans”.

  4. Loxy says:

    In watching his presser and talking to the sports guys in the newsroom.. I kinda like Gillis.

    Stop me now.

  5. HBomb says:

    Was Mike Gillis not Michael Nylander’s agent?

    I think he was. Knowing how it appears that whole schmozz went down last July, I kind of felt sorry for the guy – it seemed like he was negotiating in good faith and his client (and client’s wife) pulled the rug out from under him and he ended up looking somewhat unprofessional because of it.

    Thank God that deal didn’t materialize – if there’s a worse scenario than Souray long-term, it would have been Nylander long-term, because it probably would have meant no Gagner here this past season AND Horcoff getting traded for 60 cents on the dollar after a “down” 2006-07 season.

  6. Dennis says:

    Watching NHL Live today and EJ Hradek didn’t have very many good things to say about this guy. His opinion seemed based on Gillis’s less than transparent relationship with the press when it came to his clients and their negots but I just thought I’d throw it out there anyway.

    I like this hiring because I think it might make the Canucks even more dysfunctional than they are now. I know this place was split on the job Nonis was doing — and there’s no doubt he was leaving them top-heavy on D and netminding — but a lot of money was coming off the books so they had that room to improve the offense plus they could’ve traded some of their D for some O.

    Of course Gillis should realize those same problems and possible solutions but it seemed like Nonis had a better longterm plan.

    Perhaps I’m off about that, though.

  7. andy grabia says:

    I like this signing because it makes it that much likelier that Tambellini goes to TO with Burke.

  8. Shawn says:

    Gillis worked with David Frost and David Frost clients… one reason you could use to not like him maybe. Nylander as well.

    Frankly I don’t ever hope someone fails, but I’d have hired Armstrong if it were me.

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