You've got to love the color that sportswriters of yesteryear were allowed to paint their masterpieces with.
Here's Jim Coleman, in a January 3rd, 1940 piece for the the Vancouver Daily Province, talking about King Clancy, the former NHL superstar turned referee. Or, as Coleman calls him, "the shillelagh-swinging Celt from Ottawa" who "is still slugging sundry citizens across the chops."
Coleman further explains....
"Clancy was refereeing in Montreal again last week when four players who had been showing trifling animosity all evening suddenly began to bop one another with their cudgels. Clancy plunged into the fray to separate the combatants, but his peacemaking tactics were so vigorous that the players stopped bopping one another with their cudgels and all began to bop Clancy. When the King disposed of them, he gave major penalties to only two, ruling the other two hadn't hit him hard enough to draw blood."
Now these old time hockey writers tended to exaggerate more than a little, so I don't know how true these events actually were. But it was not unheard of for players to be a little more physical with the officials back then compared to today where it is an absolute no-no. Rocket Richard attacked referees and linesmen as much as anyone.
If any referee back then would have gotten so hands-on involved, it would have been the impish Clancy.
Coleman further explains.
"Mr. Clancy's singularly violent behavior comes as no surprise to those who remember him in his playing days. He wasn't much bigger than a well-fed Saskatchewan jackrabbit, but he could tear 'em down. When those big forwards roared in on the Ottawa defense, King Clancy would hit them and they would collapse as if they had been shot through the knees."
I wish hockey writers of today had such lee-way with their reports.