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. 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. 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. 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 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.