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Bruce McNall
Born Bruce Patrick McNall
April 17, 1950(1950-04-17)
Arcadia, California, United States
Residence Tarzana, Los Angeles, California
Nationality United States
Education University of California, Los Angeles, Oxford University
Occupation Historian, film producer, sports teams owner, racehorse owner
Board member of Los Angeles Kings, Toronto Argonauts

Bruce Patrick McNall Ph.D. (born April 17, 1950 in Arcadia, California) is a former American historian, Thoroughbred racehorse owner, and a sports executive who once owned the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL). McNall was only twenty years old when he earned a Ph.D. in ancient history from Oxford University. [1]

McNall claimed to have made his initial fortune as a coin collector, though Metropolitan Museum of Art director Thomas Hoving claimed he smuggled art antiquities[1] as the partner of Robert Hecht Jr.[2] In the 1980s McNall produced several Hollywood movies, including The Manhattan Project and Weekend at Bernie's.

McNall bought a 25 percent stake in the Kings from Jerry Buss in 1986, and bought an additional 24 percent in 1987 to become the team's largest shareholder. He was named team president that September, and purchased Buss' remaining shares in March 1988.[3] He then shocked the sports world on August 9, 1988 when he acquired the NHL's biggest star, Wayne Gretzky, along with Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski, from the Edmonton Oilers for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, three first-round draft choices and US$15 million. McNall raised Gretzky's annual salary from less than $1 million to $3 million, which, in turn, triggered a dramatic rise in NHL salaries throughout the 1990s.

In 1991, McNall, Gretzky and actor/comedian John Candy purchased the CFL's Toronto Argonauts. Prior to the 1991 season, McNall enticed Raghib "Rocket" Ismail away from the National Football League by signing him to a four year contract for a then-unheard-of $18.2 million. Although Ismail led the Argonauts to the 1991 Grey Cup championships, he returned to the U.S. after two seasons in Toronto.

At one point, he also owned the finest copy of the most expensive baseball card, Honus Wagner's 1909 T206 card.[4]

Thoroughbred racing

McNall also owned Thoroughbred race horses and in 1990 won France's most prestigious race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, with the colt Saumarez. He was also a partner with Wayne Gretzky in the colt Golden Pheasant who won races in Europe as well as the Arlington Million in the U.S. and the Japan Cup at Tokyo Racecourse.


McNall's profile rose almost as fast as that of the Kings, culminating in his election as chairman of the NHL Board of Governors—the league's second-highest post—in 1992.[3]

Then, just as fast as his star rose, it fell. In December 1993, he defaulted on a $90 million loan, and Bank of America ordered him to put the Kings up for sale or they would force the team into bankruptcy. Under this pressure, McNall was forced to sell controlling interest in the Kings in May 1994 and resign as chairman of the board of governors, though he still remained as president and governor of the Kings for a time.[5]

Shortly afterward, he granted a bizarre interview to Vanity Fair in which he admitted to smuggling many of his prized coins out of foreign countries. Other rumors surfaced about his financial situation. Finally, on December 14, he pled guilty to five counts of conspiracy and fraud, and admitted to bilking six banks out of $236 million over a ten-year period.[3] He was sentenced to 70 months in prison.

Immediately after McNall's conviction, it emerged that he'd grossly mismanaged the Kings financially. The team was ultimately forced into bankruptcy. Nonetheless, McNall remained on good terms with many of his former players, with Gretzky, Rob Blake, Luc Robitaille and others visiting him in prison. Gretzky even refused to allow the Kings to retire his number 99 until McNall could attend the ceremony. McNall also attended Robitaille's uniform retirement ceremony in 2007.[2]

McNall was released in 2001 after his sentence was reduced by 13 months for good behavior. He was on probation until 2006. He credited his celebrity friends who supported him. Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn visited, "Michael Eisner, who suggested I write the book and bought it, always took my call", while "Dick Zanuck was always there, Tom Hanks would write to me, Bert Fields would send his books, and Barry Kemp wrote long letters. They kept me going." McNall has since become the Co-Chair of A-Mark Entertainment.[3]

In 2003, McNall published an autobiography titled Fun While It Lasted: My Rise and Fall in the Land of Fame and Fortune. [4].

On June 1, 2009, in a list of published tax cheats by the State of California, Bruce Patrick McNall of Tarzana (a City of Los Angeles neighborhood) was listed as owing $7,461,764, the second largest amount owed by an individual in California.[6]


  1. ^ 1996 - "False Impressions" by Thomas Hoving
  2. ^ Hoving, Thomas, Making the Mummies Dance. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-73854-2
  3. ^ a b c Fischler, Stan (1999). Cracked Ice: An Insider's Look at the NHL. Lincolnwood, Illinois: Masters Press. ISBN 1570282196.  
  4. ^ Bob Pool, Honus Wagner card sells for $2.35 million, Los Angeles Times, February 28, 2007.
  5. ^ Hofmeister, Sallie. "The Hard Fall of a Salesman". Ne.  
  6. ^


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