I recently ran across a list of the top ten hockey movies of all time. Of course, any hockey fan will immediately say ‘Slapshot’. Why not? We’ve all seen the movie a hundred times and I’ll bet you can repeat many lines in the movie. Who can forget some of the lines: “You go to the box. Two minutes by yourself and ... you feel shame. You know ..... and then you get free” and “Anybody throws me against the boards, I’m gunna PXXS all over myself”. How about those Hanson Brothers, “None of that stinkin’ root beer!.”
On the list of the top ten, was a movie I had not seen called “Net Worth” , produced in the 1990’s by CBC. It basically tells the story of how the NHLPA was formed. I knew previously that Ted Lindsey was a key figure in forming the association (not union), because of poor treatment from ownership and management. What I did not realize was the rest of the story behind the scenes and the reputation of some of the original owners and the NHL Commissioner at the time, Clarence Campbell. The owners were making money hand over fist, cooking the books and paying the players a relative small sum even for that time. The head coaches manipulated and treated the players like dirt . (Yes, I know, players still get manipulated by coaches but nothing like this).
I always liked and respected Ted Lindsay as a former Red Wing great and Hall of Famer. He earned his “Terrible Ted” nickname with his toughness on and off the ice. His leadership in forming the NHLPA got him traded from the Stanley Cup Champion Red Wings to the last place Blackhawks, both owned ironically by the Norris Family. The Stars and even the average players owe big thanks to the early pioneers of the NHLPA. Those multimillion dollar salaries you enjoy may not routinely exist without their efforts. Increase your contribution to their pension fund and take care of these great pioneers.
Given the reputation of the owners and managers from an era long ago, why does the league continue to honor these ruthless and crooked by naming of some of the most cherished trophies in the game, the Norris, Symthe, Adams and Campbell Bowl after them.
KK readers, what do you think, is it time to change so the names on these trophies to honor more of the games’ greatest players???? For example, the Orr Award for best defenseman, Gretzky for Stanley Cup MVP, Bowman Award for best coach, and you pick the best commissioner.
After seeing the movie, I’m glad to see the NHLPA changed their best player award voted by the players to the Ted Lindsay Award last year. After seeing the movie, you know the pain Ted went through to form the Association.
If you like hockey history, suggest you rent the move, “Net Worth”.