He awoke his son with the news early Saturday morning, saying to him, “Frankie, you’ve been traded. Now you make sure they buy your train tickets and pay for moving your furniture.”
Arriving at Maple Leaf Gardens, urgently summoned to report, Mahovlich thought he might be a member of the Black Hawks — until he saw Ivan walking out without a word.
The Maple Leafs still short-changed their smooth-skating superstar, signing him for $110,000 — $27,500 per season for four years.
The fallout was tremendous, Maple Leafs management slammed by fans for entertaining thoughts of unloading one of the most popular players in franchise history.
“After that, Ballard didn’t like me because he was embarrassed by the whole situation. He didn’t want to back off,” Mahovlich said in “The Big M: The Frank Mahovlich Story,” a 1999 biography written by his son, Ted.
The public relations disaster further soured the Big M’s by-now bitter relationship with Maple Leafs management. His tenure in Toronto would end March 3, 1968, with his trade to the Detroit Red Wings as the marquee star in an eight-man transaction.