The co-founder and president of the World Hockey Association in the 1970s, Hatskin also owned the Winnipeg franchise in the WHA. In the 1970s, WHA seriously challenged the supremacy of the NHL. Founded in the summer of 1971, the WHA made big news when Hatskin's Winnipeg Jets signed Bobby Hull to a one million dollar contract. The two leagues eventually merged in 1979. The Ben Hatskin Award was given annually to the WHA's top goalie.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. September 30, 1917 - d. October 18, 1990
The son of Louis Hatskin, a Jewish immigrant from Russia, Ben grew up involved in athletics. Nicknamed 'Fats' by his teammates, Hatskin won a football scholarship to Oklahoma University in 1938 after proving his ability at the local YMHA and with the Deer Lodge Juniors. Although World War II forced Hatskin to leave the Sooners, he played six seasons in the Canadian Football League and helped the Winnipeg Blue Bombers win two Grey Cups in that time.
Following his football career, Hatskin was involved in various endeavors, including horse racing. In 1958, he established Hatskin's Farms and the following year, one of his horses, Master Palynch, won the Louisiana Derby in New Orleans. By the early 1970s, Hatskin was interested in hockey and was instrumental in the formation of the WHA. He is a member of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
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