Rocket’s Apology

Maurice Richard, in a 1954 ghostwritten column for a Montreal weekly, had called NHL president Clarence Campbell a dictator for the way he had penalized his brother Henri and Boom Boom Geoffrion for fights they hadn’t started.

Campbell was pissed, and Canadiens general manager Frank Selke had to persuade Richard to make a public apology and post a thousand-dollar bond. The French media was pissed as well, claiming that the NHL had forced Rocket to clam up.

A year after this particular kerfuffle, Campbell would suspend Rocket for slugging a linesman, which set off the infamous St. Patrick’s Day Richard Riot.

Rocket never liked Campbell, even after his playing days were long over. Campbell probably wasn’t crazy about Rocket either.

Here’s the letter of apology, which I found in an old scrapbook when I worked at Classic Auctions.

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6 thoughts on “Rocket’s Apology”

  1. Hmm, the NHL has a history of petty dictators running the league. Maybe it should have a maximum term limit.

  2. “but no pressure has been placed on me either by the club or league.”

    Words like that are usually written when somebody has a gun to their head.

  3. Exactly, Danno. He did have a gun to his head. Campbell (and the five other teams) had it out for him. This letter of apology must have hurt like hell.

  4. I agree, Christopher. Campbell was petty and a puppet for Smythe and the others. He and Rocket didn’t see eye to eye, and I think at one point Campbell mentioned that Rocket was getting too big for his britches and needed to be brought down a few notches.

  5. Dennis, the authorities have always detested uncompromising individuals like The Rocket and will do everything in their power to make them sing from their song sheet.

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