vendredi 4 février 2011

All end’s well

March 17th 1955, Québec’s national hero and identity symbol Montreal’s Canadiens hockey star, Maurice Richard, had been suspended for three games of the finals for arguing with a line judge. The gesture had been perceived as francophobe and the decision taken by a kangaroo court. Clarence Campbell president of the N.H.L. dared come to the Forum for the following game. Montrealers of all allegiance considered it a slap in the face. Campbell was pelted with everything the spectators could lay their hands on. The police had to escort the gentleman out of the place and drive him to safety.

The crowd poured on Ste-Catherine Street and began venting its rage and frustration on everything in sight, smashing cars, store windows, attacking tramways all along the street heading east. Montrealers are not rioters…but Campbell’s arrogance had been too much. Amongst the crowd there were foreign students attending various higher learning institutions. One of them spotted a ring in a smashed jewellery window. Not thinking any further he picked it up, as a souvenir, and stuffed it in his coat pocket.

The ring was not the only thing picked up, he to was picked up by a nearby policeman and, being a minor since he was 17, was taken to the juvenile court detention centre. Needless to say we had a very busy morning of the 18th. The student was an Anglophone and was called before judge Nicholson..who called me in to look at the whole matter and report to him as soon as possible.

While the judge was speaking, a police liaison officer asked to be heard. The boy was from a well healed and powerful family where he came from. Overnight his father had cabled the jeweller the value of the ring, 3000$ (of 1955). Judge Nicholson gave him a good verbal drubbing and wished he would enjoy his new ring. I was spared the case.

8 commentaires:

  1. In this case, it was not so much the team sport that caused trouble. It rather was the symbol represented by Maurice Richard. Every quebecer, especially French Canadians, saw him as the underdog who had made it from nothing. He was what every man dreamed of achieving.
    Hockey players, back then, did not become millionnaires and Richard had to have a day job when his carreer ended.

  2. Rocket Richard was an exceptional athlete, and a great favourite of the Habs fans.

    Campbell was an idiot for showing up way he did. Didn't do much for anybody.

    And, as for your task (which ended quickly), once again a sign of how "money makes the world go round." Quelle domage.

  3. Indeed Miss Sadie had not that young man's father been a wealthy and influential man in his country I would have had more work to do. However since the jeweller had been paid for the ring and the boy had not participated in the destruction of property there was no case anymore and it was dropped pure and simple. Your ex-policeman Bear would certainly understand that.
    It must be said however that there was no criminal intent in the gesture, the ring had been recovered intact and the student would most probably have gotten away with a reprimand and a warning not to show up in Court again. But I would have had to run an inquiry in order to prepare a report and so on.

  4. That young student was very lucky, for, in today's dollars, the ring he took would have been worth at least $100,000.

    Would a young man today who pocketed a $100,000 ring, have got off as easily, even allowing that he had a rich and influential father?

  5. The circumstances being the same, the jeweller having been paid and the complaint dropped, yes the outcome would be the same, even though the laws have changed a lot since then.
    The main difference, I guess, would be that he would not even have seen a judge. The police would have freed him as soon as the complaint would have been withdrawn, unless they would have filed for participation in a riot, which I doubt considering the family.

  6. I don't recall, O my god. But I think the game was postponed to a later date...and city.