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Annex of visual documents and links for LES “Who Controls the Puck”
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NHL Hockey in the 1950s
Their feeder system, which supplied all but a tiny
percentage of talent to the NHL six, consisted of
junior teams spread coast to coast across Canada,
all of which were controlled – and sometimes wholly
owned – by the major league clubs. The major
league's control often reached down into the peewee leagues, so if a talented young player began
serious competitive play for an affiliate of the
Bruins, Maple Leafs or one of the others, he would
remain the property of that organization until they
traded or released him. With so much talent
stockpiled in so few farm systems, the pay scales
could be easily controlled, too.
It wasn't quite cradle-to-grave ownership, but it was
close. Nowhere was the stamp of the parent team
more traditional than in the Province of Quebec,
where boys of French-Canadian heritage yearned to
be happy serfs of the Canadiens.
Source: Larry Felsner, cited in Habs Eye on the Prize
available: http://www.habseyesontheprize.com/2010/3/17/1377048/the-rocketrichard-riot-55-years
Winnipeg Warriors, 1955-56,
champions of the Western Hockey League
and farm team for the Canadians that same year!
Information source for Canadien farm teams:
Image source: Western Canada Pictorial Index
More information at Manitoba Historical at
Riots after Richard Suspended !
During the 1950’s Maurice “Rocket” Richard was the
most dynamic hockey player in the National Hockey
League. He was also outspoken and wrote a column
for a French language newspaper for a while. In
March 1955, Richard was suspended for the rest of
the season and the playoffs by NHL president
Clarence Campbell for striking a linesmen during a
fight against the Canadiens arch nemesis the Boston
Bruins. While the penalty was harsh, Richard was not
totally innocent, having been in a previous violent
altercation with an official. When Campbell attended
the next Canadiens home game on St. Patrick’s day,
events spun out of control into full scale rioting in the
streets of Montreal.
Statement by Rocket Richard
“Because I always try so hard to win and
had my troubles in Boston, I was suspended.
At playoff time it hurts not be in the game
with the boys. However,
I want to do what is good for the people of
Montreal and the team. So that no further
harm will be done,
I would like to ask everyone to get behind
the team and to help the boys win from the
New York Rangers and Detroit. I will take my
punishment and come back next year to help
the club and the younger players to win the
Cup .”
Source: Statement by Maurice Richard read over the radio, March 18,
By Flickr user Archives de la Ville de Montréal,
under l CC remix licence by-nc-sa 2.0
Note: Photo is not of event described in the text!
Or… for an alternative picture and text!?!
http:[email protected]/5534687072/
Montreal Herald, March 21, 1955
Dear Mr. Editor,
I would like to say “congratulations” to Mr. Clarence Campbell for his very wise decision regarding
Richard. He has done Richard and his team-mates a great favor, but they will be too blind with rage to be
aware of it.
Richard is just a bad-tempered, narrow-minded individual. Scowling if he doesn’t get all his own way. The
title of “Baby” Richard would suit him far better. He has spoiled hockey for me and many others….
Richard could never be a good player because he is incapable of being a good sport, able to take a loss in
good spirit, as well as a win…. It doesn’t say much for the rest of the Canadiens players. They certainly
haven’t much confidence in themselves when they think they are finished without Richard instead of going
out and showing him he is not irreplaceable. That would do him good.
At the rate he was going, something tragic would have happened in the near future. His suspension is best
for all concerned. In fact he should be banned unless he can learn to be a good sport. All power to Mr.
Campbell! Please don’t resign.
La Patrie (Montreal), March 17, 1955 [Translation]
Here are some reactions we collected this morning:
Raoul Godbout: (boxing promoter) “I do not want to criticize Mr. Campbell but it’s my view that he’s not just punishing
Richard but also the whole Canadiens team. It would have been fairer towards Richard and the Canadiens if he imposed a
suspension for the rest of the regular season and maybe the first seven games of the next season. In my opinion we
should not prevent Richard from playing in the playoffs.”
Myer Insky, President of the Quebec Rugby Football Union: “It is regrettable that this thing has happened, but it is
important that authority is respected…. There wouldn’t be any hockey without referees and they need to be protected by
the players, coaches, club presidents and fans. It would be unjust to say the punishment is too severe or not. Only those
who saw what occurred in Boston and know both sides of the story can make that judgment.”
George Slater, President of the Quebec Hockey league: “Without witnessing the proof
and pleadings made toward Mr. Campbell I cannot make a comment. I imagine that
Mr. Campbell’s statement to the press did not include everything that was involved in
this process.”
Montreal Herald, March 19, 1955
The Herald held court in Montreal yesterday. A reporter and photographer acted as jury examiners. They chose 12 men
good and true, and put the turbulent hockey situation on trial before them.
Eleven said the rioting could not be condoned. The 12th was all in favor of Montreal’s show of loyalty to Maurice Richard.
Nine blamed the riot on Clarence Campbell, the calm but much abused lawyer who is the NHL’s president. One blamed
the police, one blamed mayor Jean Drapeau, and the last said the mayor and the police should share the blame. No one
blamed Richard….
Tom Reilly, 790 sixth ave Verdun: “It wasn’t necessary for Campbell to go to the game.
He wouldn't’t have been considered a coward.”
Montreal Herald, March 19, 1955
… continued
Nat Wolfe 4872 Jean Brillant St.: “It was disgraceful. Nothing was accomplished except that the Canadiens
lost the game. Only good thing was that Campbell got smacked. It wasn’t worth it.”
Sam Wise, 3245 Linton Ave: “Campbell didn’t have to go to the game to prove he wasn’t a coward. He
proved that when he suspended Richard.”
Fred Campbell, who insists he’s no relation to Clarence Campbell and is thinking of changing his name , took
up another position. He defended Campbell’s presence at the game. “Not only is he a citizen with a right to
be there, but he’s the president of the league with a duty to be there. Blame the trouble on the police for not
foreseeing it and preventing it, or at least controlling it.”
Zoel Bernier, 974 Chenneville: “Campbell should not have gone to the game. Some people might have called
him a coward. It wouldn’t have lasted.” Bernier admitted that there probably would have been no riot if
Canadiens (sic) had been winning the game.
Maurice Racette of Rosemont: “I’m 100 per cent with the people. I’m glad they got together to show
Campbell they were not happy that their star was not there. It is because Maurice wasn’t playing that our
team was losing 4-1.”
Ottawa Journal, March 19 1955
Sirs: - That people has lost the sense of perspective is obvious in the front
page reporting (two days in a row) of the latest brawl of our great national hero
“Rocket” Richard.
Such news evidently belongs to the sports section and certainly should not
have precedence over more important world and domestic events. The
debates of Parliament, for instance, are relegated to page seven; even the
news of Bevan’s dismissal* takes second place to Richard’s disgusting
exhibition of stone-age manners…
Do you not find this situation distressing? Or do I wrong too much?
L.P. Clermont
12 Electric Street, Ottawa
*Aneruin Bevan was a British Member of Parliament for the Labour party who was fired as party
whip for leading a protest of 41 MP’s against Britain’s use of a hydrogen nuclear bomb.
Ottawa Journal, March 18 1955
Toronto — Conn Smythe, president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, said tonight that the riot at the
National Hockey league game at Montreal last night was “terrible”.
During the riot Campbell was struck by a fan.
‘It’s a shame that a man like Clarence Campbell has to take abuse of that kind,” Smythe
said. “It’s terrible.”
The Leaf president said such a situation would never arise in Maple Leaf Gardens.
“It couldn't’t happen in our place.”
Smythe was asked how it could be avoided if the situation was as ripe as it was in Montreal.
He answered: “Well just let anyone try to make it happen.”
Smythe said there is no need to take the NHL office out of Montreal.
“Montreal is a great sports city. It’s just a minor element that causes trouble.”
Montreal Herald, March 18 1955
… You might not agree with his judgment but, but you can’t but admire the superb courage of
Clarence Campbell, a man who faced death throughout World War II, to whom the heckling and
minor missiles and the torrents of verbal abuse ranging from the stupid to the obscene hurled
his way bounced like thistle down off one who had faced shells and shrapnel. Here was a man
caught between two extremes. If he avoided the game he would be listed as a coward by his
detractors. If he went, he was inciting a riot. So he went….
… “He didn’t hit me,” said Pres. Campbell afterwards. “He made some flapping motions, but I
pushed him back with my foot and someone caught him.”
… The President bore no marks. He was as relaxed as anybody in the room. “A most
unfortunate thing,” he said. “Don’t worry about me. I wasn’t hurt, in any way. The missiles
were harmless, the blows missed. It could have been a lot worse.”
Ottawa Journal, March 18 1955
… When the rink had been cleared and Dick Irvin was speaking to a few
friends in the director’s room, he recalled how simple was the episode
that brought this all on.
“Why the other night in Boston, I had given up on the game that started all
this. It was a joke. We were being beaten 4 –1 with five minutes to go and
I just pulled the goalie as a gesture and figured we might pick up one or
two goals.
“here was a game that I had conceded and nothing would have happened
if Laycoe hadn’t high-sticked Richard. Imagine all of this from a game that
was practically over and lost.”
Read about it from several perspectives at
Read about it and browse photos and articles at
The Legendary #9: Maurice 'Rocket' Richard
Maurice Richard wasn't an outstanding stickhandler. And he wasn't the
finest skater the NHL has produced. But he became one of the best
players in history through sheer force of will. Driven by desire so fierce
his glare unhinged rival goaltenders, the Montreal Canadiens star set
numerous records. "The Rocket" became a cultural icon among
Quebecers, who so revered Richard that they started a riot when "Saint
Maurice" was suspended from the league.
Read about it and view clips at “CBC: The Legendary #9: Maurice 'Rocket' Richard”

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