Former NHL president John Ziegler Jr. has died at 84, the league announced Friday.
From the amateur rinks of Michigan to the fourth President in NHL history.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) October 26, 2018
Ziegler presided over a period of significant change during his 15-year tenure, which lasted from 1977-92. The league expanded from 18 to 24 teams in that span, including the addition of the Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hartford and Quebec franchises from the rival World Hockey Association in 1979.
As the Cold War fizzled out, Ziegler also welcomed players from the former Soviet Union to the NHL for the first time while seeing the number of European-born players in the league increase significantly.
The first American to lead the NHL, the Michigan native was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987.
“The NHL family was saddened to learn of the passing of former league president John Ziegler,” commissioner Gary Bettman said in a release. “… On a personal note, John provided invaluable counsel during my early days as commissioner and was always generous with his time. His life of service to our game was recognized in 1984 with the awarding of the Lester Patrick Trophy and in 1987 with induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. On behalf of the NHL’s Board of Governors, we extend our deepest sympathies to his entire family and many friends.”