The legacy of Clarence Campbell

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Fenway, Nov 5, 2018.

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  1. Fenway

    Fenway RIP Fugu Sponsor

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    [​IMG]

    When I was a youngster, my parents vacationed in Montreal and I asked my Dad if we could visit the NHL offices in the Sun Life Building. We were staying at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and it was only 2 blocks away and he said sure because I think he was curious as well.

    We go up to the 9th floor and find a door that said National Hockey League and opened it. It was a very small space and cluttered with boxes and at first, we didn't think anybody was there and then a man came out wearing Bermuda shorts and a garden bonnet and asked if he could help us. It was Clarence Campbell. It was August and hot and he was the only person there. He was very charming and gave me the new schedule that had just been printed. I would meet him again 15 years later in a beer line at Boston Garden during the SCF looking for MILK. :huh:

    I bring this up because on the Bruins board we have been discussing where the 'hate' in hockey has gone and Campbell was the front man for the 6 owners and he was not about to rock the boat unless he knew he had at least 4 votes. This was critical especially in 1955.

    I was lucky to have a few long talks with longtime Bruins announcer Fred Cusick before he passed in 2009. I got friendly with him asking about Boston radio history and this was a man who did it all in the business and his first big break came in 1952 when the Bruins were bought by the Boston Garden and they fired Frank Ryan who had broadcast the games since 1924.

    Frank Ryan (sportscaster) - Wikipedia

    Fred told me that the HATE players had for each other was real because they played a team 14 times a year AND home and home series on weekends were made worse because the teams would travel on the SAME TRAIN. While the teams slept in separate cars there was the bar and dining car in between. :laugh:

    He recalled that there usually wasn't trouble in the first games, especially in Toronto and Montreal because the games were on TV and NHL officials were always around......but in Boston, things usually exploded and the worst came in March of 1955.

    The game in Montreal on March 12th was chippy with both teams getting flagged for 7 penalties each

    Boston Bruins - Montréal Canadiens - March 12th, 1955

    and then both teams rushed to the Montreal train station for the overnight train to Boston. Fred's recollection was nobody slept on that train.

    The Boston and Maine RR would hold the train in Montreal until the players were on it and as you can see from the timetable it was not a fast train.

    upload_2018-11-5_5-48-40.png

    The Habs would go to the adjoining Manger Hotel (later known as the Madison) and the Bruins went home. What happened that night shocked the hockey world and ultimately affect the entire province of Quebec.

    Montréal Canadiens - Boston Bruins - March 13th, 1955

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Fred told me it was the worst thing he ever witnessed at a game.

    The aftermath?



    The video embedded above was co-produced by Global and TVA in 2000 and it focuses on the Richard suspension and the riot in Montreal on March 17, 1955. The documentary suggests that Campbell was fed up with Richard but he wanted to make sure the Norris/Wirtz faction was on board as they controlled 3 votes and Toronto was certain. Boston didn't matter in the mid 50's but Walter Brown who had become the head of the Bruins in 1952 when Adams sold the team to the Boston Garden needed the Norris/Wirtz faction for his ice shows.

    Campbell was born and raised in the second SMALLEST town in Saskatchewan but somehow he was able to be named a Rhodes Scholar and study at Oxford and with that, every door in the British Empire was open to him, but his first love was hockey and Frank Calder groomed him to be his heir as he liked his work as a NHL referee in the 30's. World War II however put that plan on hold.

    When the war was over Campbell was given the job and Frank Deford wrote this in 1974

    "Yes, everyone wants to hear about the Maurice Richard suspension [in 1955]. This was after he had the fight in Boston, but it is important to remember that I had warned him after an almost identical incident in Toronto three weeks prior. I warned him I would suspend him if it ever happened again. He had been making a profit out of every fine I laid on him. If I fined him $250, he'd get $2,500 [in donations]. You could not tolerate this frustration of league authority. And the violence in the league then had reached an alarming stage.

    "The blood had to stop. I'd drive to games with the owners, and they were petrified at what might happen on the ice, but they were frightened that I would monkey with a good product.

    "Now, there was a precedent for not carrying a suspension into the playoffs, for starting it up again the next regular season. I thought that was a helluva poor decision, and I haven't changed my mind to this day. It had to be all or nothing. You've got to remember that this coincided with an enormous sociological upheaval. It was just the beginning of the French movement, and the only man in Quebec better known than Richard was the Prime Minister.

    "But, no, I wasn't scared. It never occurred to me not to go to the game the night after I suspended him. I took the lady who is now my wife and her sister and another girl. There was a mob assembled out front of The Forum, but we walked the gauntlet. You see, they were taken as much by surprise by me as I was by them. It reminded me of once, years before, when I refereed a game in Trail, B.C. We were coming out of the Fruit Show Building in the Italian end, and the fans were mad at some of my decisions and waiting for me. Another official, Pat McIntyre, said, 'I'll take your bag and you take the scabbards off your skates.' And I did. Carried one in each hand. It was pretty much the same feeling this time going into The Forum.

    "But inside I didn't feel so secure. They were throwing things. Vegetables—ripe vegetables. Some bottles smashed in front of me, and then I knew I was in trouble. I suggested the girls go, and they did, except my wife—the lady who was to become my wife. The crescendo of hostility rose, and then between periods this fellow conned the ushers and came up to me. I wasn't sure about him so when he offered his hand, I grabbed it firmly, which surprised him, and when he swung at me it didn't even knock off my hat, although it did shake it a little. And then I pushed him away with my foot. I had the advantage of a better angle.

    "It's funny but until I made that decision I was never really acknowledged as the head of the NHL. Still, I've never aspired to be Landis or anything of that sort. I've taken the attitude that I was an executive director of the enterprise.

    I think it is important to remember that into the mid 70's. Montreal was the financial capital of Canada and that money was all anglophone controlled. Things changed after the debacle of the 1976 Olympics and most of the money and jobs packed up and headed for Toronto.

    When he retired he was replaced with John Ziegler who moved the NHL offices to New York but he was another figurehead for the now growing BOG and he lasted 15 years. Then the BOG changed course ( Gil Stein didn't happen) and the NHL went after Bettman from the NBA and he was given a mandate to tell us what to do.

    Campbell made it clear in the Deford interview that he was NOT involved with the Nuremberg trials but that conception sticks to this day.

    "My time in the Army affected me, too. If you want to run a really effective operation, you can't have more than three echelons of staff. We have 13 people, and everybody must learn his boss' job. Mrs. Turriff, my secretary, Mrs. Hilda Turriff, she could run this league for two years and nobody would know I was gone. She's been here 19 years and never missed half a day. I married my first secretary after nine years. I learned to appreciate her values as well as her shortcomings.

    "I went into the war as a private at 34 years old. After it was over, I stayed in to help with the war trials. Now please, don't say I was at Nuremberg. There were other trials. I was never near that damn place. It was while I was still over there that I first started to hear from Red Dutton, who was running the league then, about being his assistant. Well, we finally worked it out and I came in the Tuesday morning after Labor Day. Yes, '46.

    "When Red got to the office, we hardly had time to shake hands before we had to go to the Windsor Hotel for a league meeting. As we were walking out of here across Dominion Square, Red turned and said, 'By the way, when we get over there, I'm going to resign and recommend you for president of the league.' That was the first I heard of it, or anybody did for that matter. So they voted on it and raised my salary from $7,500 to $10,000, and put me in charge.

    "Since I was over 40 and it seemed about the last chance I'd have to start something new, I asked for two years' income guaranteed, which would enable me to have the time to rehabilitate myself at something else if they let me go. I'm pretty adaptable. I'm pragmatic. There's nothing romantic about me."

    "There've been so many fortuitous developments in my career, and the fact that I never had any children—well, they would have delimited so many of the other satisfying experiences I have had. Before there was so damn much work here, I was president of my club, head of a hospital. I was pretty good at curling. And I had an eight handicap in golf for five years. Now I do see the Expos fairly regularly, and I still get to read some. I like historical books. I only watch TV once in a while; I haven't seen a movie in five or six years.

    And I've had all these operations. The hole in my stomach was cured right away when we found out what was responsible—aspirin. I would get tired and use aspirin as a juice pill, and it burned the hole. Two years ago I had a gallbladder and a bladder operation, and, as residual of that, bronchitis. I'm 175 now, but I've been as high as 210. I have to keep a protein diet, but I'm not fussy. I never leave anything on my plate. For drinking, I'm a vodka man.

    "For sleeping, I'm always in the raw. I used to have to own some pajamas because we traveled by train in the league then and you had to have something to wear on the trains, but since we stopped going on trains, hell, I don't even know if I have any pajamas left."

    My lasting image of the man was his trying to get a glass of milk at a Boston Garden concession stand in 1977.
     
  2. Ralph Spoilsport

    Ralph Spoilsport Rookie Mistake

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    Lucky you. My lasting image will be of him sleeping in the raw. Thanks for that! :laugh:

    Campbell, you old dog. Stepping out with three mademoiselles at once. Marry the one who stands by you in the riot. There's true love.

    BTW I think the separatist Parti Quebecois winning the provincial election in '76 had more to do with the shift of economic power to Toronto than the Olympics, but for sure the Olympics left a dubious legacy. Olympic Stadium was known for years as 'The Big Owe".
     
  3. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    You have GOT to explain this one. Please.
     
  4. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    I find it interesting that in 1977, which was his last year at the helm, he'd have been in a line up at Boston Garden trying to get a glass of milk. Just strange that the President of the NHL would be doing this and not be up in a press box having someone else do it for him.

    Anyway, I think if he were Commish today he probably wouldn't get as much hate as Bettman because he at least cut his teeth in hockey being a ref at one point. He wouldn't do things like Bettman did by confusing the two Ace Baileys ("Ace Bailey from the 1930s was the one who died on the plane in 9/11"). So there would be at least that, but he was part of the establishment too. He was a know-it-all lawyer and he also help stymie the players union in the 1950s at a time when the players really needed it.

    The Flyers hated him back in the Broad Street Bullies days because he made no secrets that he wanted them to lose. Yet he walked into their dressing room in 1976 lecturing them on beating the Soviets, to which the Flyers hated.

    So yeah, he would get a lot of hate that someone like Bettman gets today, although you would at least know that he KNOWS about the game and its history. I didn't always like Colin Campbell at the helm, but I respected his playing and coaching experience.
     
  5. DNA

    DNA Registered User

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    I’m not up to speed on Gary’s confusing the 2 Ace Bailey’s. Please enlighten me.
     
  6. Fenway

    Fenway RIP Fugu Sponsor

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    It is documented in the video
     
  7. Fenway

    Fenway RIP Fugu Sponsor

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    Excerpt from The Instigator: Gary Bettman’s ascension to the NHL’s biggest job

    In the spring of 2008, Bettman went on New York’s WFAN radio to talk about the NHL playoffs. One of the hosts, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, mentioned that he had been fascinated by a vignette showing on the NHL Network about “Ace” Bailey, Eddie Shore and the origin of the all-star game. The first such exhibition in Toronto in 1934, he explained, was a benefit for Bailey, a Maple Leafs forward who had almost died after Shore, a Boston Bruins defenceman who defined truculence, hit him from behind, sending him to the ice and fracturing his skull.

    Bailey never played again. That was the point at which Bettman jumped in and added his two cents: “And the tragic end to that story is he, Ace Bailey, was on one of the planes on 9/11.”

    Mad Dog and his co-host marvelled at that tidbit, wondering what a man that old was doing flying that day. And back at NHL headquarters, staffers who were listening to the broadcast picked their jaws up off of the floor. Garnet “Ace” Bailey, a winner of two Stanley Cups as a player with the Bruins during the early 1970s and the director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles Kings, was one of the unfortunates aboard United Airlines Flight 175 when it crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, but he wasn’t the same guy.

    Shore’s victim, Irvine “Ace” Bailey, who went on to work as a timekeeper at Maple Leaf Gardens for more than 45 years, died of natural causes at the age of 88 in 1992.

    The gaffe became the subject of much merriment around the league, but received surprisingly little coverage in the press.
    Perhaps that’s because many hockey reporters have learned discretion is the better part of valour when it comes to Bettman and his NHL lieutenants.






    There have been widely hailed Bettman successes, like the NHL's Olympic participation, and others, like a diversity program, that have largely gone unnoticed
    . In between there have been some cringe-inducing moments, notably the 2008 radio interview in which Bettman confused Ace Bailey with Ace Bailey. (Irvine [Ace] Bailey, a Maple Leafs winger, retired in 1933 because of a fractured skull after an Eddie Shore check, an incident that led to the creation of the All-Star Game—as a benefit—the following year. Garnet [Ace] Bailey, a 1970s forward and later the Kings scouting director, died on United Airlines Flight 175 on 9/11.) This was a self-made gotcha moment. In the context of the All-Star Game, Bettman volunteered that the elder Bailey, who died of natural causes in 1992, perished when his plane crashed into the World Trade Center. The commissioner was trumped by an Ace.

    THE LORD OF THE LOCKOUT
     
  8. Fenway

    Fenway RIP Fugu Sponsor

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    Without getting political many feel that the massive debt of the Olympics created the anger that caused voters to look for change. Remember the province had to take over the project from the city and got very little help from the federal government.
     
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  9. jumptheshark

    jumptheshark Rebooting myself Sponsor

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    When I lived in Vancouver I got to hang out with a lot of old timers and their biggest complaint or comment was all the skulduggery that went on with the NHL in the 60's and 70's.
    One of the trades that caused them to roll their eyes was

    Montreal Canadiens acquireDateCalifornia Golden Seals (Oakland) acquire
    [​IMG]cash
    1971 1st round pick (#1-Guy Lafleur)
    Francois Lacombe
    May 22, 1970
    1970 1st round pick (#10-Chris Oddleifson)
    Ernie Hicke

    the question was HOW MUCH CASH was involved in that deal---while most transaction sheet do not show it--the Habs sent the Seals and their owner Charles O Finleys some money--the guys I talked to suggest the Habs sent money and the rights to some land to the Seals--I have never been able to track down how much it was--but the old timers said it kept the Seals going to for 2 more years

    There were a few deals done by the Canadians, that if they were done today--they would not happen as the NHL has now changed the rules. People say it was the Gretzky trade that cause the no cash rule to come in affect--the people I talked to said the discussion started back in the 70's when the Canadians were involved in quite a few trades where cash changed hands

    look at the 70/71 season alone

    History of NHL trades by the Montreal Canadiens for 1970-71 - NHL Trade Tracker


    For me, time has hurt Clancey's rep as the more intormation came out about how him and the owners screwed over players and the owners of some teams and I think the NHL knowsit
     
  10. Fenway

    Fenway RIP Fugu Sponsor

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    Boston Garden in 1977 was severely lacking in amenities. :laugh:

    Campbell was pragmatic, he knew he worked for 6 teams and he did what he was told. Bettman today works for 31 teams but he has the power to suggest what to do. Campbell never had that power.
     
  11. DNA

    DNA Registered User

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    I didn’t need to have my disdain for this man dragged any lower, or of those that look the other way in his defense, but this takes the cake. Yeah, welcome to the Hockey Hall of Fame, Gary!
     
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  12. Fenway

    Fenway RIP Fugu Sponsor

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    For Gary to do that on WFAN - SEVEN years after 9/11 just boggles the mind.

    Ace was so excited that summer as his baby, the AHL Manchester Monarchs would launch in October. How he could confuse 2 men whose playing careers were 40 years apart is unexplainable especially from a man who almost never makes a mistake near a microphone. :help:


    September 11, 2001 is a day that no American will ever forget. And for the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, they did not forget two of their own.

    Scouts Ace Bailey and Mark Beavis were two of the thousands of lives lost on that day, when their United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the World Trade Center. The scouts were en route from Boston to Los Angeles for Kings training camp. In an ironic twist, current Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau at the time was the head coach of the top farm club Manchester Monarchs and was supposed to be on that flight but he and Bobby Jay moved their travel plans to the day before due to a scheduled dinner by Kings coach Andy Murray. Boudreau and Bailey were dear friends and among the tributes the Kings have done since 2001 was renaming their mascot “Bailey”.

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Fenway

    Fenway RIP Fugu Sponsor

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    When you look at Campbell he certainly led an extraordinary life given his roots in remote Saskatawan.

    When he became President of the NHL after WWII no one could question his love for the game of hockey but as I posted last night he served at the pleasure of the NHL BOG which consisted of 6 teams but 3 of the US teams were joined at the hip ( Detroit, Chicago and New York) and Boston needed to play ball with the Norris/Wirtz circuit to get lucrative boxing matches. If you look at US TV prime-time schedules in the 50's and early 60's there were weekly boxing matches on Wednesday from Chicago and Detroit and on Friday (and later Saturday) from New York and Boston. Toronto and Montreal were given the occasional match as well. Hockey and later basketball were simply ways to fill more nights in the buildings. The Montreal Forum had a lucrative summer business with box lacrosse and paid the players peanuts.

    I wonder how much input Campbell had on the first expansion. I tend to think he would have wanted Vancouver included then but the BOG was looking at US TV money and they chose Oakland. St. Louis got a team simply because the Blackhawks wanted to unload the St. Louis Arena which they owned.

    The FIRST CBS game in the 1967-68 season? Philadelphia at Los Angeles on 12/30/67
    upload_2018-11-6_6-6-39.png

    Odd note about that game - notice the Bruins are listed to be on TV at 3 PM - At the last minute the NHL told Channel 38 they could not show the game live because of a CBS exclusive and the station had to scramble to buy ads for the new time.

    upload_2018-11-6_6-16-58.png

    It is well documented that Campbell and Sam Pollock (Montreal GM) would meet for lunch every Wednesday at a long-gone Montreal restaurant called Ben's and nobody thought twice about it. The Montreal I remember in the mid 60's to the mid 70's was a city of enormous wealth for privileged anglophones. Westmount was the wealthiest city in Canada and was equal to Greenwich, CT and Beverly Hills, CA. Toronto was considered a backwater then but was catching up with a new subway and the building of the 401. Montreal then hosted Expo 67 and Americans fell in love with the city.

    The only time I can recall Campbell going against Pollock was when the Habs demanded that Burlington, Vermont be considered Montreal territory. This happened in the early 70's when WVNY Channel 22 in Burlington decided to telecast every Bruins game originating from WSBK-TV in Boston. This was a big deal as Channel 22 was carried on Montreal area cable systems. Campbell said that no rational human being is going to tell Vermonters they have to watch Montreal over Boston :biglaugh:

    But to this day there is a strong contingent of Bruins fans in Montreal because there were more Boston games on TV than Montreal until cable networks like RDS-TSN were developed.
     
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  14. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    Longest serving NHL president, certainly left a mark on the game of hockey. Saw the league almost triple in size during his time in office.
     
  15. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    What video? And what time?
     
  16. Fenway

    Fenway RIP Fugu Sponsor

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  17. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Any chance you have an idea where it is marked so I can save 45 minutes of time?
     
  18. Fenway

    Fenway RIP Fugu Sponsor

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    Go to the 30 minute mark and watch
     

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