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 55 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.