Tag Archives: Cliff Thompson

Tragic End For Ross Lowe

This is number two of the three Bee Hives I found on eBay recently, with only one left to go to complete the 73-player Group 2 set. The first of the trio, that I posted last week, was Doc Couture. And now today – Ross Lowe.

Ross Lowe was a defenceman who came over to the Habs from Boston in a 1951 trade which sent Hal Laycoe to Beantown. Laycoe would later become synonymous with the infamous Richard Riot in 1955 when he belted the Rocket over the head with his stick, which led to Richard punching linesman Cliff Thompson and getting the boot for the final three games of the season, plus all of the playoffs.

But that’s getting off the subject.

Lowe would play two playoff games with the Habs in the spring of ’51, and then 31 regular season games during the 1951-52 season when he would tally one goal and five assists.

After three years in the minors following his brief Montreal stint, Lowe would be offered a tryout with the New York Rangers, but it wasn’t to be. He drowned in Lake Haliburton, which is north-east of Orillia, in the summer of ’55 while vacationing with his family.

R. Lowe

 

Extra, Extra, Read All About It – Part Seven -1973

For the last eight Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup wins, from 1971 to 1993, I managed to save the front pages and laminate them. (Although one, from 1977, is an inner page).

This is part seven – 1973

Why was 1973 the longest season ever for Frank and Peter Mahovlich, Ken Dryden, Yvan Cournoyer, Guy Lapointe, and Serge Savard ? And the same for the other Cup finalists of that year – Dennis Hull, Stan Mikita, Bill White, Pat Stapleton, and Tony Esposito?

Because the 1972 season began for these guys (This Vancouver Sun said ten players but I count eleven) on the morning of August 23th, 1972 when they showed up for the first day of camp for the historic 1972 Canada-Russia Summit Series, and ended when Montreal hoisted the Cup in Chicago in game six on May 10th, 1973. 

And what series was bigger to Ken Dryden, the Summit or the Cup? “Each is the most important series at the time you win it,” answered the thoughtful Dryden.

It was Montreal’s 18th Stanley Cup, and each player pocketed a record $19,000 for the five weeks of playoff work, and Chicago players didn’t do so badly either, taking home $14,000 each.

Yvan Cournoyer won the Conn Smythe trophy in these playoffs, and  it was record-breaking series with 56 goals being scored, an average of more than nine a game. Jacques Lemaire also found himself in the record book by recording nine assists in the final. It was also Henri Richard’s 11th time he’d sipped from the Cup, whcih is unbelievable. Jean Beliveau had previously been on ten Cup teams.

Scotty Bowman, in his post-game comments, said, “Sure we knew we were the better team. After all, we’d only lost ten games during the season. But look at the pressure it put on us. We came into every game the overwhelming favourite. It’s tough to live up to your press clippings.”

Montreal’s playoff run began by taking out the Buffalo Sabres in six games, then Philadelphia in five, before besting the Hawks in six. Henri Richard considered retiring after this season but ended playing another one and a half seasons beyond. 1972-73 was also the year the New York Islanders and Atlanta Flames joined the league.

One side note from this Vancouver Sun writeup. The Vancouver Canucks hired Hal Laycoe to be their new general manager, replacing Bud Poile. Laycoe of course was the villian in 1955 who got Rocket Richard all fired up, which led to the infamous Richard Riot on St. Patrick’s Day of 1955. Laycoe, playing for Boston, high-sticked Rocket and of course number nine went after the bespeckled Laycoe, only to find himself held by linesman Cliff Thompson. So in order to protect himself from being hit by Laycoe while being held by the official, Rocket punched Thompson in the face twice, knocking him out cold, and the rest, as they say, is history.  

 

The Campbell/Richard Slight Disagreement

I went back to my posts from the past several years regarding the Richard Riot which took place on St. Patrick’s Day 56 years ago. If you’ve already read these, hope you don’t mind.

 

 054

When Clarence Campbell suspended Maurice Richard for the remaining games of the season and all of the playoffs in March of 1955, he was not a popular man. And that’s an understatement to end all understatements. Of course he wasn’t popular. How could you treat Rocket so unfairly when all he did was smash Hal Laycoe over the head with his stick and punch out a linesman?

Richard fans took to the streets, as we all know, and trashed several blocks of Rue Ste. Catherine’s which became widely know as the Richard Riots, or the St. Patrick’s Day Riot. But they did more than just riot, smash and loot. No, only ordinary greaseballs simply riot, smash and loot. A Habs’ fan came up with a much more creative protest – design, print and cover Campbell’s soup cans, which was no relation to Clarence, with Maurice Richard labels, and for a short time, some stores sold their tomato soup this way. That’ll teach that rotten English president bastard.

Yes, Clarence Campbell was not a popular man at this time.

(My Richard soup label isn’t an original, only a copy. Originals turn up rarely and sell for many hundreds of dollars).

campbell

This is Clarence Campbell being accosted by a thug the night of the Richard Riot of March 17, 1955. You know the story – Rocket was suspended for the remainder of the season and all of the playoffs for slugging linesman Cliff Thompson.

But Clarence Campbell either didn’t love his fiance Phyllis a whole lot or he wasn’t too bright even though he was a lawyer, a Rhodes Scholar, and a judge at Nuremburg.

Mr. Campbell surely must have known that a select breed of fan might be slightly upset that night. Things could go haywire, maybe even become extremely dangerous. This was not a night to bring a date. It wasn’t the most romantic thing Mr. Campbell had ever thought up, I’m sure.

But Clarence brought Phyllis, and when people started throwing things at him, much of it hit not only the target, which was you-know-who, but also his lovely lady. And do you think he’d get her the heck out of there? Nope. They sat and took it. Such a gentleman. Such chivalry. Such supreme stupidity.

Then a guy in a black jacket, as seen in the above photo, somehow made his way to Clarence and started pounding the bejeesus out of the NHL top dog, and Phyllis sat there (that’s her just behind the thug, with her eyes bulging), and took it all in. And do you think the prez would’ve got him and his sweetheart out of there then? Nope. They still sat there.

She should have said right then and there, “Clary darling, if you don’t get me out of here right now, I’ll have your balls for bookends.”

Shortly after, a tear gas bomb exploded and all hell broke loose. Only then did Campbell and his future wife get up and vamoose.

What a gentleman. The little lady could’ve been seriously hurt, but Clarence obviously wanted to make a statement, to show that he wasn’t going to be pushed around, blah, blah, blah. But Phyllis didn’t need to be in the situation at all. She should’ve been home knitting Clarence a toque and listening to the mess on the radio. In fact, Clarence should have insisted that that was what she would do.

And in fact, he should’ve been at home too, holding the wool for her. The Forum was the last place good old Clarence should have been at on this night. In fact, there might not have been a riot at all if this Rhodes Scholar would have stayed away. And imagine what this infamous night would have been like if you added a serious injury or worse to Phyllis?

It was headstrong stupidity from the NHL president.

No wonder the Rocket never stopped disliking this guy.

Good old St. Patrick’s Day. Green beer and other green things, leprechauns, jigs, barroom brawls, hangovers, and the Rocket Richard Riot which happened on this day back in 1955, which happens to be 56 years ago if my math is correct.

It was also long before taser guns, which might have come in handy that night. 

As you know, the Rocket was suspended for the remainder of the season and the entire playoffs after slugging a linesman, and riots and boorish behaviour ensued on Ste- Catherines St. outside the Forum until the Rocket himself went on radio and pleaded with everyone to stop the madness, which they did. 

This hockey lore will continue for another 400 St. Patrick’s days unless global warming puts an end to everything. 

What I want to know is, who were those black-jacketed hoodlums that set it all off, and are they still alive?

Clarence Campbell and his fiancee Phyllis decided to attend the game that night after the suspension was handed down, and they were pelted with eggs and other garbage. Someone went up to Campbell and hit him twice before running off. And another set off a tear-gas bomb.

So who were these greaseballs? Who threw the eggs, who punched Campbell, and who set off the tear-gas bomb? I’d like to know.

I’d like to know if they were busted for any of this. If they felt badly afterwards. If they told their kids and grandkids as the years went by. If they became heroes in their neighbourhoods. If they’re still alive. Or if they kept their embarrassing secrets with them to their graves.

Were these people even hockey fans? And most intriguing, the tear-gas bomb was apparently a Montreal police force item. How did someone get their greasy fingers on a police item?

I know that 37 people were arrested for breaking windows and looting stores that night. But I’d like to know about the handful who got the ball rolling.

If you were where one of the hoodlums, please let me know. Get it off your chest. You’ll feel better.

Even Soup Got Into The Act With Upset Fans

054

When Clarence Campbell suspended Maurice Richard for the remaining games of the season and all of the playoffs in March of 1955, he was not a popular man. And that’s an understatement to end all understatements. Of course he wasn’t popular. How could you treat Rocket so unfairly when all he did was smash Hal Laycoe over the head with his stick and punch out a linesman?

Richard fans took to the streets, as we all know, and trashed several blocks of Rue Ste. Catherine’s which became widely know as the Richard Riots, or the St. Patrick’s Day Riot. But they did more than just riot, smash and loot. No, only ordinary greaseballs simply riot, smash and loot. A Habs’ fan came up with a much more creative protest – design, print and cover Campbell’s soup cans, which was no relation to Clarence, with Maurice Richard labels, and for a short time, some stores sold their tomato soup this way. That’ll teach that rotten English president bastard.

Yes, Clarence Campbell was not a popular man at this time.

(My Richard soup label isn’t an original, only a copy. Originals turn up rarely and sell for many hundreds of dollars.)

A Brief Bee Hive Moment: Hal Laycoe’s Big Night With The Rocket

 From 1934 to 1967, if you mailed in a Bee Hive Corn Syrup coupon, they would send you a free photo of most any player you requested. They were divided into three groups over the years, and this photo of Hal Laycoe comes from Group 2, which covered the years between 1944 to 1964.  Bee Hive photos were fun to collect and because everyone asked for the Rocket or Beliveau or Horton  or Armstrong etc, the lesser players like the Habs’ Tod Campeau and Vern Kaiser and others are extremely rare and valuable.

Hal Laycoe had been a friend of Rocket Richard’s when both played for Montreal, but after Laycoe was traded to Boston, he and the Rocket took centre stage one night in what led to a big-time piece of hockey history.

It happened like this. Laycoe had highsticked Richard one night in Boston, but play continued with no penalty called. This upset the Rocket very much. He skated up to Laycoe, smashed him in the face and upper body with his stick, and was soon subdued by the officials. But this didn’t stop Richard. He kept breaking away from the linesmen to get at this former friend, Laycoe, and he even broke his stick over the Bruin player’s back.

Linesman Cliff Thompson got hold of Richard again, but the Rocket broke loose and punched Thompson twice, which wasn’t the greatest idea. It simply wasn’t a good situation all round.

All of this led to Richard’s suspension of the remaining games in the season, plus the entire playoffs, and you know the rest of the story.

Of course it was the 1955 Richard Riot on St. Patrick’s Night In Montreal.