April 26, 2010
Those Were The Days: Clarence Campbell
Clarence Campbell is best know for his role in the whole Rocket Richard riots in 1955 when he was the president of the National Hockey League.
But did you know he got his NHL career started as a referee in 1933? Campbell remembered his first Stanley Cup game officiated in 1937.
"The first Stanley Cup game I ever saw, I worked in - as a referee. That was one of the games in the Detroit-Montreal semifinal. It was a strange kind of series - first Detroit seemed to have it won, then Montreal, and it went that way right down to the very end, in overtime of the last game. I remember during that overtime Montreal's Johnny Gagnon, they called him The Cat, came down the ice and had Norm Smith beat. He faked and there was Smith stretched out on the ice, helpless. All The Cat had to do was ram the puck by Smith. He could have scored easily and won the game. Gagnon was so sure he would score that he flipped it over Smith's body - but somehow Smith got a foot on the puck and kicked it away. And a little later Detroit scored to win the game and the series. Even when you're a good one like The Cat, you can never be too sure."
Campbell was a controversial referee in his day. Once he was sucker punched by Boston Bruins great Dit Clapper.
Outside of hockey Campbell was also a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, a World War II colonel and a prosecuting attorney against the Nazis post-war.