Death At The All-Star Game (long)
- This was an article that appeared in the Montreal Star on January 26,
1972. Frank has a couple of postings in the hockhist archive on his
founding of the Salt Lake City Golden Eagles.
Owner's Death Mars All-Star Game
by Red Fisher
The Star's Sports Editor
BLOOMINGTON - The county coroner's office is continuing an
investigation into the cause of a death that cast a pall over last
night's East-Weast All-Star game, and left several of its playing
members with torn and shattered nerves.
Dan Meyer, president of the Salt Lake City Golden Eagles - a team
which borrowed several players from the Canadiens and Boston
organizations when it joined the Western Hockey League several years
ago - plunged 17 floors to his death only hours before the game. The
tragedy, an apparent suicide, occurred only minutes after he left the
WHL meeting, one which had been convened to decide whether or not to
merge with the Central Hockey League.
Meyer, who is a mining engineer, was 45.
Eyewitnesses to the tragedy were several members of the All-Stars,
and even after last night's 3-2 victory by the East over the West
they were still shaken by it.
Pit Martin, who set up the West's first goal, scored by Bobby Hull,
was only six or seven feet away when the tragedy started. Martin
occupied a room adjoining Meyer's. His roommate was Paul Henderson,
of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"I heard this breaking of glass," Martin was saying after last
night's game, "and I looked outside. He wasn't more than six or
seven feet away from me. He was looking out of his window and
looking down. I couldn't believe it. I tried to yell, but I
"Anyway, I don't know how to describe what I was looking at. His
face was a blank. I didn't know him and I'm glad, because if I knew
him, I don't know what I would have done. He looked down and then he
crawled out on this iron girder...slowly...about two feet outside his
window. The he sort of eased himself over it, hung on with his
fingers for less than a second, and then he let go. I keep thinking
of that poor man, and I still can't believe it."
Henderson was in the room with Martin at the time of the apparent
suicide. "I raced over to the window and saw him crawling out," said
Henderson. "I watched him crawl slowly over the girder and then I
couldn't watch any more. I turned my back. I started shaking. I
couldn't stop. You could hear the crash 17 floors below, and I was
almost sick to my stomach.
"It was unbelievable how calm he looked. He looked like a guy who
had made up his mind to do something and nothing was going to stop
him. No fear. No emotion. I almost cried."
Meyer occupied room 1911 of the plush Radisson South Hotel, where the
majority of the hockey people were billeted. Martin and Henderson
were in room 1913.
On floor below, in room 1813, Chico Maki and Bobby Hull also heard
the sound of shattering glass. Maki, a centerman or right winger for
the Chicago Black Hawks, was at the window when the body hurtled
toward the roof of a two-storey amphitheatre.
A pale and shaken Hull talked about it after last night's game.
"We heard this tremendous breaking of glass. Then we heard a couple
of softer noises. Chico was shaking at the window. I raced up one
floor to the man's room. The key was still in the lock, and for a
few seconds, I didn't really know what I wanted to do, then I turned
the key, opened the door and jumped back.
"The man's wallet was on the floor near the bathroom. His glasses,
with one lense missing, was nearby. There was an overturned chair
near the window. I looked up and there was this great big hole in
the window. I guess he used the chair to break the window. That's
the least he'd need. There was a crushed lampshade on the floor. I
guess he used that to knock out some of the glass after using the
chair. That must have been the softer noise we heard.
Blood On The Floor
"Naturally, there was glass all over the floor. Some blood, too. I
don't know ... you don't even see things like this in the movies.
Poor Chico ... poor Paul. They were really shaken up. I was too ...
how do you explain a thing like that?"
Dutch Van Deelen, a supervisor of NHL officials, and a close
acquaintance of the dead man, said that Meyer had left the WHL
meeting several times explaining that he had telephone calls to make.
"He told a few of the owners that he had a few things going in the
mining markets and if they didn't come through, he'd be bankrupt.
The last man he spoke to was Vince Abbey (owner of the WHA Seattle
team), and all he said to him at around 1:30 was that he was going
upstairs to telephone. He was bubbly all the time he was here ...
everything seemed to be positive."
Meyer is survived by his wife Juanita, daughters Linda, 20, and Lisa,
8, and a son Dan, 18.
> This was an article that appeared in the Montreal Star on January 26,This brings back a lot of memories for me. Although I was just a teenager
> 1972. Frank has a couple of postings in the hockhist archive on his
> founding of the Salt Lake City Golden Eagles.
when Dan Meyer died, I remember the news of his death very clearly. It was
quite a shock to the local community as Dan was recognized as a popular
community leader. Over a thousand people attended Dan's funeral service
which was held, appropriately, at the Salt Palace.
Pro hockey had only been in Salt Lake for about three years at the time of
Dan's death, but in that short period of time a very loyal core of fans had
developed. Dan was incredibly enthusiastic about hockey. Apparently, he
saw a game in Portland once in the early '60's, fell in love with hockey and
spent the next several years talking to anyone who would listen about bring
pro hockey to Salt Lake. He finally succeeded in 1968 when he was granted a
The Golden Eagles are long gone, but I'm sure Dan would be happy to know the
Utah Grizzlies are doing OK and he would have been thrilled to have seen the
Olympics here. However, I know he would be shocked to know the Salt Palace
is no more, as it was Dan's baby almost the same as the Delta Center is
Larry Miller's. Although the Salt Palace was municipally-owned, Dan played a
major hand in getting the whole project going, selling Salt Lake County on
the idea that a full-time tenant would occupy the building.
About ten years ago I met Dan Meyer Jr. in Colorado Springs at a youth
hockey tournament. We had a nice chat about the old days with the Golden
Eagles. He said all his Dad cared about was making the Golden Eagles
franchise top-notch both on and off the ice. Eventually, it became just
that. Sadly, Dan never lived to see it.