Nelson Skalbania

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Nelson Skalbania
Born (1938-02-12) February 12, 1938 (age 77)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Alma mater University of British Columbia
California Institute of Technology
Occupation Businessman, Sports Franchise Owner, Engineer
Spouse(s) Eleni Skalbania

Nelson M. Skalbania (born February 12, 1938) is a former businessman from Vancouver, British Columbia best known for signing 17-year-old Wayne Gretzky to the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association.

In 1961, Skalbania graduated from University of British Columbia with a bachelor's degree in applied science, then received his Professional Engineering certification in 1962. He received a master's degree in civil engineering in 1964 at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California (specializing in seismic engineering).

Skalbania started as a consulting engineer in the early 1960s before expanding into property and sports team flipping. This all ended in bankruptcy in 1982.

Skalbania was put in jail in 1998 for a 12-month sentence for theft.


Consulting businesses[edit]

President and majority owner of McKenzie Snowball & Skalbania, consulting engineers. Started in 1964. By 1971 there were over 100 employees in four locations in structural, electrical, and mechanical engineering consulting, This ended in 1981.

Real estate transactions[edit]

Skalbania was active in flipping real estate, primarily in the US and Canada. Some highlights include:


Skalbania bought and sold or folded several sports teams, notably:

Bankruptcy and decline[edit]

On December 16, 1982 Skalbania filed a bankruptcy proposal in Vancouver, British Columbia that called for his 125 unsecured creditors to allow him five years to repay $30.3 million in debts. Due to high interest rates, a depressed real-estate market and millions lost on sports ventures Skalbania subsequently defaulted. In December 1998, Nelson Skalbania was put in jail for a 12-month sentence for theft. Skalbania illegally used money from an investor to cover debts in his real estate firm.[1]


  1. ^ "Skalbania in jail". CBC News. 1998-12-11. Retrieved 2015-05-26.