According to the Canadian Press, the new Peter Pocklington book I'd Trade Him Again: Peter Pocklington on Gretzky, Politics and the Pursuit of the Perfect Deal claims he and Harold Ballard almost traded cities:
"Harold phoned me and said, 'Would you consider moving to Toronto with your team and I'll move to Edmonton with mine, and I'll need $50 million," Pocklington told The Canadian Press when reached Sunday at his Palm Desert, Calif., home.Here's the full link. You can order the book here: Amazon.ca - Chapters - Amazon.com
"So I thought about it and said, 'Yes Harold, I'll go for that."'
The scheme called for the entire team to move to Toronto to play in Maple Leaf Gardens while the Leafs, in turn, would have found a home in Edmonton's new arena, which at that time was called the Coliseum.
According to Pocklington, Ballard was in financial straights when he made the proposal in 1981. However, a short time later Ballard backed out of the deal.
As for the outrageous claim - I'm skeptical. It's coming out of left field, where the only other person who is alleged to know, Harold Ballard, died a long time ago. If there really was anything to this, I'm sure a whole lot of people would have been involved from NHL and legal perspectives.
Is this just another greatly exaggerated fabrication from Mr. Pocklington, designed to grab some headlines at the release of his new book? Don't believe everything you read folks.