The man charged in the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars in memorabilia from Walter Gretzky has had deep ties with some of hockey’s greatest legends, including Bobby Orr, Doug Gilmour and the Gretzky family, TheHockeyNews.com has learned. In fact, in an incredible twist of irony, the man charged was scheduled to be inducted into the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame in Parry Sound, Ont., the same Hall of Fame in which Walter Gretzky was inducted two years ago.
Brantford police confirmed that Ken Hadall, a 58-year-old from Oakville, Ont., was charged with theft over $5,000 and possession over $5,000 in connection to the theft of $500,000 (in U.S. funds, which is about $640,000 in Canadian funds) worth of memorabilia from the Gretzky home. They also confirmed that 58-year-old June Dobson, who is a senior Ontario Provincial Police officer in Grenville County, Ont., has been charged with fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust in connection to a stick from Wayne Gretzky’s childhood that was sold to a memorabilia dealer for $6,000.
Police said the two cases were not related and that, in fact, the investigation that led to Dobson’s arrest rose out of the investigation into Hadall. Both people were well known to the Gretzky family. Dobson has been a friend of Walter’s for many years and it’s believed Hadall’s relationship goes back to Keith Gretzky’s playing career in junior hockey in the mid-1980s. It should be pointed out that neither suspect has been convicted of the offenses and is considered innocent until proven guilty.
But it’s clear the theft from the Gretzky home was not a case of break-and-enter and was indeed an inside job, which once again provides a cautionary tale to NHL players and their families about with whom they associate themselves.
Hadall first met Gilmour early in his tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the two have worked on some projects together, but a person close to the situation said Gilmour cut ties with Hadall last spring. It’s also clear that Hadall had a very close relationship with Orr, as evidenced by his induction into the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame. The induction was set to take place June 13, but was postponed because of COVID. TheHockeyNews.com reached out to the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame and was told by a spokesperson that it had just recently learned the news about Hadall and would not be commenting.
The website for the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame says the mandate for its selection committee is to, “select worthy candidates for the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame and two acknowledge the significant contribution and exceptional achievement to athletics and sports.”
When it announced Hadall’s induction as an honorary member last February, the Hall of Fame outlined his contributions this way:
“Ken Hadall has been a dedicated and selfless friend and supporter of the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame for more than a decade. Ken’s support has come in a variety of forms over the years. His contributions to the annual Celebrity Golf Classic fundraiser are legendary and include prizes, gift bags, custom hockey sticks signed by hockey royalty and partnerships with his vast network to secure an ever-growing list of celebrities to pair with golf teams. Ken was instrumental in brokering a deal with Samsung Canada that saw the donation of technology for the Hall of Fame displays in addition to a significant financial contribution to Hall of Fame reserve funds. Ken loved the community of Parry Sound and the pride shown in local youth, which led him and Doug Gilmour to approach the Hall of Fame with a donation to establish a Bobby Orr Hall of Fame Scholarship for local youth in 2018. On top of his financial support, Ken is incredibly generous with his time. It’s been said his most-used phrase is, ‘How can I help?’ The Bobby Orr Hall of Fame has benefitted immensely from Ken’s generous support and dedication and the Hall is proud to welcome him as an honorary member.”