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The Rocket Richard Trophy.
Maurice “The Rocket” Richard was obviously one of those six whose jerseys hung from the Forum’s rafters when it closed in 1996.
However, despite all his accolades and scoring records, it wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops as far as Richard was concerned. At least once it was about flying debris.
On March 17, 1955, after he had suspended Richard for the remainder of the season, NHL president Clarence Campbell thought it would be a good idea to test Hab fans and attend a Canadiens game, similar to how current NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would probably think it a good idea to wear a Habs jersey in a tough part of Boston with the current lockout in full swing.
The game, which the Detroit Red Wings won essentially by way of forfeit after it had been called to ensure the safety of fans, saw Campbell physically abused and even a tear gas bomb go off inside the Forum. Outside, it got worse, with windows getting broken and cars toppling over.
It definitely wasn’t Montreal fans’ finest hour, but it still constitutes a key point in Habs history as well as a pivotal moment in that of Quebec, as the whole incident arguably helped to spark a sense of nationalism within the province. If it wasn’t there before, anyway, it definitely was after.
Almost came about with a bang, one might say. Or a rocket.