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This Day in Hockey History – March 13

Today in hockey history, a pretty absurd riot takes place in probably the first city you think of, a coach wins a lot of games with a single team, another ridiculous Gretzky fact, and a game that probably shouldn’t have been played lasts one period before being called off.

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March 13, 1955 – In a game against the Boston Bruins, Montreal’s Maurice “Rocket” Richard was ejected during a 4-2 Habs loss. Richard was high-sticked by Hal Laycoe (former Habs defenseman) on a Montreal power play and after the play ended, Richard charged Laycoe, who had already dropped his gloves in anticipation of a fight. Well, he didn’t get a fight. Richard instead swung at his head with his stick. And when the linesman couldn’t contain him, he repeatedly swung his stick at Laycoe, eventually breaking it over Laycoe’s body, then, after breaking free once again, punched the LINESMAN in the face a few times (because he had exhausted his weapon), rendering him unconscious. Three days later, NHL President Clarence Campbell suspended Richard for the rest of the season, including the playoffs. While the general sentiment around the league was that the penalty probably should have been harsher (Richard had also slapped a linesman earlier in the season), the suspension spurred a, yep, a riot in Montreal because the French-Canadiens felt as if the punishment was unfair and that the league was trying to subjugate the French. The Canadiens lost to the Red Wings in the Finals in seven games (the first time the home team won all seven games). The incident was one of the most violent acts in hockey history and it later became to be known as the “Richard Riot,” because they have so many riots in Montreal that they apparently have to name each one to keep track.

March 13, 1976 – Billy Reay became coach to win the most games with one NHL team when his Black Hawks (again, not a typo) beat the North Stars 4-1 to give him his 501st win with Chicago. With the win, he topped Toe Blake, who had won an even 500 wins with the Canadiens.

March 13, 1984 – In his 385th game, Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky scored a goal and an assist in a 6-5 win over the Nordiques to give him 900 career points. Want some quick math? The milestone meant that Gretzky had averaged 2.34 points per game through nearly the first five seasons of his career. Extrapolated to any given 82-game season, Gretzky averaged nearly 192 points a season. My goodness.

March 13, 1993 – The Flyers-Kings game in Philadelphia was called off after one period because the winds caused by the “Blizzard of ‘93” shattered a window in the Spectrum’s outer lobby, with the scored tied at 1. The game was replayed on April 1 (Kings won 3-1), as if the March 13 game actually taking place with the impending dangerous conditions was some kind of retroactive April Fool’s joke.

 

Source: Hockey Hall of Fame

Scott Finger
Scott is the former managing editor at Hooked on Hockey Magazine. He loves hockey, writing, and writing about hockey. He graduated from Roger Williams University in 2011 with a useless degree in Media Communications (concentrating in Journalism). Being a New York Rangers fan (and NY Giants and Mets fan) living in Boston is very uncomfortable for him, and it'll be awkward trying to celebrate a Rangers Cup win in the streets when they inevitably win sometime in the next 100 years. He also likes long walks on the beach.
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