Your Basic Rocket Contract

Below, the Rocket’s contract for the 1956-57 season, drawn up on a 1954 Northern Electric calendar page, for the sum of $12,000, plus a $2,000 signing bonus.

$12,000 is basically the equivalent of $108,000 in 2017 dollars.

Thanks to Bernie Beland in Sudbury for sending me a photo of this great piece.

Interestingly enough, Rocket’s brother Henri’s rookie contract was drawn up on the very same type of calendar page, but from the year before, 1953, even though Henri’s rookie year was 1955-56.

GM Frank Selke must have held on to his old, out-of-date Northern Electric calendar pages because he was a cheap bastard.

5 thoughts on “Your Basic Rocket Contract”

  1. Hi, Dennis. Thanks for the recent summer postings, including today’s….I have been meaning to write to you with a question. It seems to me (and maybe it’s my faulty memory), that this off season has featured far more activity by Canadiens management than is normally the case. Who are all the guys they’ve been signing, where do they come from, and where are they headed? Are we going to see a 2017-18 starting roster filled with 75% newcomers or are many of the additions going to be playing in the minors? I would welcome your thoughts about how the coming season is taking shape. Eric

  2. HI Eric, nice to hear from you. Hope everything’s great. As far as these transactions go, I have a few thoughts, and I’m still waiting for more deals to be done. It almost seems like it’s been a step backward, but I can’t say for sure. I really like Jonathan Drouin and I think he’s a great addition. Unfortunately, they gave up one of top young prospects in the game, Mikhal Sergachev, to get him. So I don’t know how that will turn out. They traded Nathan Beaulieu for almost nothing, and lost Alexei Emelin to Vegas, and they still haven’t signed Andrei Markov. All three are lefthanded shots, although they did get a fairly decent d-man in Karl Alsner from Washington. So it seems they might not be finished filling their blueline just yet. They got Ales Hemsky from Dallas and Peter Hollsnd from Phoenix (who played most of his short career in Toronto), but these are not huge point-getters, and that’s what we need at centre. So I don’t know if Bergevin is finished there, either. I hope not. They signed Price to an eight-year extension, which is great, and Galchenyuk for three years, which is good too, but they lost Radulov to Dallas, which isn’t good.
    I don’t think they’re quite ready, and the GM’s phone bill must be huge. But one guy who never seems to be talked about is Artturi Lehkonen, who I think is going to get better and better, and he could have a great season. Apparently there’s another Finish player, a defenceman, who could crack the lineup too. I don’t know much about this, though.
    All in all, right now at least, I don’t see a Cup-winning team, which is too bad. I’m not getting any younger.

  3. Those were the days!…
    It’s a different NHL since the days of the original six for sure.
    Dennis thanks for sharing those images…i always wondered about those contracts with the Richard brothers…i am certain that a more formal contract was drawn up…and those slips of paper are promissory notes…..Back then a lot of players worked at other jobs in the off season… today it’s agents and multi million dollar contracts.
    It’ll be interesting to see the 1917-18 version of the Habs..i think not signing Radulov was a big mistake…only time will tell.
    Hope you’re having a good summer in Powell River.
    Cheers Ed

  4. Hi Dennis,

    I just spent some time perusing your site and it’s fabulous. Great content and nicely designed. After being on the sidelines for quite a spell, I recently set up a sports column site on wordpress. I’ve been floundering with trying to make it look half decent. My son looked at it and said: ‘what the hell is that?’ Baby steps better than no steps.

    I hope all is well in your world.

    Gyle Konotopetz

  5. Hi Gyle. As I said a long time ago, I really love your writing, and I’m happy you have a new site for us to read.

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