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Video- The ‘Rocket’ Richard Riot

from Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet,

This article originally appeared in Sportsnet Magazine: The Captains.

It was March 17, 1955. Five nights earlier, Richard had been highsticked by Boston defenceman Hal Laycoe. The slice sent a furious Richard off for five stitches to his face, but not before he settled the score. Richard—bright red blood still spilling from his head—found Laycoe in the fray and smacked him in the teeth with his stick before breaking it over his back. That’s when a linesman, Cliff Thompson, intervened. Richard knocked Thompson out with a stiff hook to the jaw.

NHL president Clarence Campbell suspended Richard for the remainder of the season and the playoffs. He’d punched an official, after all. The penalty was considered light outside Quebec, but within the province’s borders people were infuriated. Montreal fans saw the move as an undeserved crime against French Canada and one of its greatest heroes.

The NHL and the English-speaking sleazebags who run it were trying to make an example out of the workingclass Quebecois hero dominating their league. Richard’s chance at winning the scoring title was gone, and the Habs’ chance at a Stanley Cup surely went with it. They would never have done this to Lindsay. Never to Howe.

Even worse, Campbell had the audacity to show up at the Forum for the first Habs game after the suspension. As if to rub it in. That night, the crowd pelted the president of the league with vegetables and eggs. One man got close enough to sock Campbell before he was restrained.

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Comments

Temo's avatar

History - love it!

Posted by Temo from La Capital, Míchígán on 03/17/15 at 12:46 PM ET

Mistercristo's avatar

Montreal entitlement run amok.

They would never have done this to Lindsay. Never to Howe.

Neither one ever broke a stick over a players back then knocked out a ref.

Posted by Mistercristo from Cameron Frye's garage, circa 1987 on 03/17/15 at 01:08 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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