March 17, 2016

Remembering The Rocket Richard Riot

The Rocket Richard Riot: Reacting to a high stick from Boston's Hal Laycoe in a game on March 13, 1955, Rocket Richard attacks Laycoe with a stick three times and punches out linesman Cliff Thompson.

Richard is ejected from the game, but the real punishment is handed out by NHL president Clarence Campbell - a man who has had a long history disciplining Richard. This time Campbell suspends Richard for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, costing Richard a shot at his only NHL scoring title, and hurting Montreal's chances of success in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The next night Campbell attends the game in Montreal and fans show their unhappiness by hurling insults and debris at the NHL chief. During the first intermission things get out of hand when a tear gas bomb explodes, causing mass panic.

The game is forfeited to Detroit as the angry crowd gathers outside the Montreal Forum and rioting begins. Damage and looting to local businesses is estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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