That story, by Wayne Johnston, purports to examine events that led to the infamous Richard Riot of 1955. Johnston's story posits a personal and professional friendship between the great Francophone hockey forward Maurice "Rocket" Richard, whose suspension for rough play triggered the eponymous riot, and the story's Anglophone sportswriter/narrator, who ghostwrites a newspaper column for Richard. This is of interest, since the Richard Riot is often cited as a turning point in arousing Quebecois sensibilities and a precursor to Quebec's Quiet Revolution of the 1960s.
(An outdoor staircase on St. Urbain Street. Such staircases mean more space indoors. They're a typical feature of Montreal homes.)
The NHL's president, Clarence Campbell (a longtime enemy of Richard's, in Johnston's version), had suspended the mighty Richard for the rest of the season — and the Stanley Cup playoffs. Montreal was incensed. Richard, though not in uniform, showed up for the game. So did Campbell, fashionably late, as if to call attention to his presence. And then—
(Don't be misled by the subtitle True Stories from Hockey's Classic Era. Johnston's story features a first-person narrator who tells us that "In 1954, I was writing a satirical hockey column." Johnston was born in 1958.)
(The "Original Six" is a misnomer for the six teams that constituted the National Hockey League from 1942 through the expansion era beginning in 1967, which put teams in Oakland; Kansas City; Tampa, Fla.; and Disney World, among other non-traditional hockey cities. In fact, the league had been founded twenty-five years before the "Original Six" — and with four teams. Hockey is a subtle game.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2011