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Canadiens1958 05-10-2013 05:10 PM

The Ron Attwell Story - CAHA Suspends the QAHA, QSHL Becomes the QHL
 
Genesis in another thread about hockey myths.Ron Attwell was a very promising Ontario junior player, who in 1952 was sold by the Boston Bruins to the Montreal Canadiens.

http://icehockey.wikia.com/wiki/Ron_Attwell

This brought a junior dispute that was festering at the national level since WWII about junior players moving from their province to another province to play at a higher level for a sponsored junior team.

The Canadiens wanted Ron Attwell to play for the Junior Canadiens then based in Montreal, The QAHA approved, the CAHA did not. The QAHA did not fold and the hockey landscape changed. When the smoke had cleared the QSHL, a league that had done nothing wrong became a professional league, the QHL, on a par with the AHL and WHL. while Jean Beliveau was playing for the Montreal Canadiens.

Over the next few days I will post links to some of the more interesting newspaper stories.

Killion 05-10-2013 05:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 (Post 65776937)
Over the next few days I will post links to some of the more interesting newspaper stories.

Interesting... I'll see what I can dig up on my end.

Canadiens1958 05-10-2013 07:08 PM

Roots of the Ron Attwell Dispute
 
Competition for the Memorial Cup after WWII was rather intense. The parent NHL teams used to transfer junior players between teams, across provincial lines and between leagues in an effort to improve their organizations chances of winning the Memorial Cup.

In 1952 the Canadiens purchased a very promising junior,Ontario born and raised Ron Attwell from the Boston with the intention of playing him in Montreal with the Junior Canadiens in the QPJHL. The OHA complained that the player could not be transferred to a Quebec based team and league, that Ron Attwell would have to play for the OHA Kitchener-Waterloo Greenshirts, also a Canadiens sponsored junior team. The QAHA disagreed approving the transfer to the junior Canadiens. The CAHA sided with the OHA.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...7223%2C4720012

This was a rather strange decision since the Canadiens had a number of Quebec born and raised juniors - Marc Boileau and Gilles Boisvert, playing for the Greenshirts:

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/l...023851953.html

The next day the QAHA was sanctionned:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...7112%2C4851025

but was supported by the QSHL and the NHL - Clarence Campbell.

Killion 05-10-2013 08:21 PM

Well thats all very strange. Unusual I would think that CAHA would take such draconian steps like that, particularly so as the QAHA was supported by Clarence Campbell & the NHL (based in Montreal at that time of course). Strikes me there was a lot more going on here than just a squabble over a players rights to jump from Oshawa where he wouldve played as Boston property to Montreal where it was the Habs prerogative to have him play if so desired. Hell, they paid the Bruins $5K for just that right.

Yet the CAHA revises its rules, bends them to try & further prevent it, making it up as they go along, making an enemy of the QAHA, and in a backhanded indirect fashion then precipitates the collapse of the QSHL's status as amateur. This actually reeks of something Conn Smythe would cook up in basically trying to "protect" his misbegotten perspectives pursuant to the integrity of the OHA & territorial rights of the rest of the league, that the Habs were flouting the rules, operating a "Hot House" in PQ with their own "Pro League" of the QSHL and now here they were "stealing junior aged Ontario & Western Canadian boys" to go play in the QJHL. And this kid was from Toronto, which must have further stuck in his craw.

Wouldnt have mattered to Smythe that he wasnt Leafs property, that he might never make it as a regular (which he didnt as linked), he was going to use this as leverage in busting up Montreals development system. Forces the CAHA to wheel out the Heavy Artillery, a Goon Squad sent into Montreal ready to takeover the operations of the 12,000+ membership of the QAHA, declaring that organization as outlaws, forcing the QSHL & by rote the Montreal Canadiens & Smythes now Nemesis Frank Selke no small amount of grief after Selke having acrimoniously leaving Toronto for Montreal begins to develop this very system in order to groom & provide talent for eventually the Habs, and as exportable "product" to other NHL & Minor Pro Clubs, a source of revenue.

Yes, Im thinkin this is quite likely what was really going on here, and Clarence Campbell, unamused by Smythes Machiavellian triangulations in getting the CAHA to do his dirtywork for him came down on the side of the QAHA, putting an end to any further disruptions to the amateur game in the province by outside sources. Fortunately, the QAHA had some smart & sensible guys running the organization who werent about to be Bullied, and Im thinking that guy Frank Dilio as being fairly prominent in such a role & capacity. Ten years after that event (64), the CAHA gave him a Lifetime Meritorious Service Award and he was inducted into the HHOF in the Builders Category. George Dudley, then Secretary & General Mgr of the OHA doing all the barking was a Toronto Lawyer from Midland, well known to Smythe going back to his days with the Varsity Blues. In fact, George Dudleys name surfaced when the NHL was looking for a new President just after WW2, though he obviously didnt get the job. He too a member of the HHOF.... involved with the IIHF, IOC etc as well. Gordon Juckes more or less taking over from Dudley around 1960 or so.

Canadiens1958 05-10-2013 10:20 PM

Well...............
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Killion (Post 65791661)
Well thats all very strange. Unusual I would think that CAHA would take such draconian steps like that, particularly so as the QAHA was supported by Clarence Campbell & the NHL (based in Montreal at that time of course). Strikes me there was a lot more going on here than just a squabble over a players rights to jump from Oshawa where he wouldve played as Boston property to Montreal where it was the Habs prerogative to have him play if so desired. Hell, they paid the Bruins $5K for just that right.

Yet the CAHA revises its rules, bends them to try & further prevent it, making it up as they go along, making an enemy of the QAHA, and in a backhanded indirect fashion then precipitates the collapse of the QSHL's status as amateur. This actually reeks of something Conn Smythe would cook up in basically trying to "protect" his misbegotten perspectives pursuant to the integrity of the OHA & territorial rights of the rest of the league, that the Habs were flouting the rules, operating a "Hot House" in PQ with their own "Pro League" of the QSHL and now here they were "stealing junior aged Ontario & Western Canadian boys" to go play in the QJHL. And this kid was from Toronto, which must have further stuck in his craw.

Wouldnt have mattered to Smythe that he wasnt Leafs property, that he might never make it as a regular (which he didnt as linked), he was going to use this as leverage in busting up Montreals development system. Forces the CAHA to wheel out the Heavy Artillery, a Goon Squad sent into Montreal ready to takeover the operations of the 12,000+ membership of the QAHA, declaring that organization as outlaws, forcing the QSHL & by rote the Montreal Canadiens & Smythes now Nemesis Frank Selke no small amount of grief after Selke having acrimoniously leaving Toronto for Montreal begins to develop this very system in order to groom & provide talent for eventually the Habs, and as exportable "product" to other NHL & Minor Pro Clubs, a source of revenue.

Yes, Im thinkin this is quite likely what was really going on here, and Clarence Campbell, unamused by Smythes Machiavellian triangulations in getting the CAHA to do his dirtywork for him came down on the side of the QAHA, putting an end to any further disruptions to the amateur game in the province by outside sources. Fortunately, the QAHA had some smart & sensible guys running the organization who werent about to be Bullied, and Im thinking that guy Frank Dilio as being fairly prominent in such a role & capacity. Ten years after that event (64), the CAHA gave him a Lifetime Meritorious Service Award and he was inducted into the HHOF in the Builders Category. George Dudley, then Secretary & General Mgr of the OHA doing all the barking was a Toronto Lawyer from Midland, well known to Smythe going back to his days with the Varsity Blues. In fact, George Dudleys name surfaced when the NHL was looking for a new President just after WW2, though he obviously didnt get the job. He too a member of the HHOF.... involved with the IIHF, IOC etc as well. Gordon Juckes more or less taking over from Dudley around 1960 or so.

Except the Maple Leafs and Conn Smythe were far from pure at this time. Specifically the Marlies at that time featured Parker MacDonald from Nova Scotia, an importation that had hurt the growrh of Maritime Hockey. The Leafs were also regularly importing from Quebec and across Canada to St. Mikes - Fleming Mackell,etc. Plus the Leafs were importing from the two other regions in Ontario - NOHA, nickle belt players and the ODMHA, Ottawa district, hurting the two other Ontario regions.

Finally the disappearance of the QSHL would open the door for a super OHA Sr league based around Toronto with extra revenue passing thru the doors of MLG.

Killion 05-11-2013 09:20 AM

"Except"? It seems your bolstering my speculation C58. :laugh:

On various levels as I said this reeks of a fairly deep plot. The joint destruction of QSHL & Selke's work in developing a farm system; possible avaricious intent in forming an Ontario based minor-pro / semi-pro league. I doubt Smythe was that forward thinking, I think he just wanted to make life as difficult as possible for Selke & the Habs. A petty, dictatorial character who resented Selke, made it personal, called him a traitor, a "Quizzling", all manner of invective, resented the man as he very nearly wrestled control of MLG & the Leafs from Smythes hands during & just after WW2.

He'd been installed as Chairman of the Board in Smythes absence when he formed a Sportsmans Brigade & went overseas, did a terrific job of it, and upon Smythes return there was considerable reluctance by the other members of the Board to re-install Conn as Chairman. The Kennedy trade was a Lightning Rod, providing cover for Smythe initially, however when he turned out to be a Gem begrudgingly gave Selke some credit. There was considerable enmity there, not so much from Selke despite the ill treatment (and this after basically being Smythes right arm in building the Leafs, the farm system & the Gardens), more from Smythe who could be extraordinarily mean-spirited & vindictive.... The pieces fit the puzzle.

Canadiens1958 05-11-2013 11:16 AM

The Ides of March Approach I
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Killion (Post 65820443)
"Except"? It seems your bolstering my speculation C58. :laugh:

On various levels as I said this reeks of a fairly deep plot. The joint destruction of QSHL & Selke's work in developing a farm system; possible avaricious intent in forming an Ontario based minor-pro / semi-pro league. I doubt Smythe was that forward thinking, I think he just wanted to make life as difficult as possible for Selke & the Habs. A petty, dictatorial character who resented Selke, made it personal, called him a traitor, a "Quizzling", all manner of invective, resented the man as he very nearly wrestled control of MLG & the Leafs from Smythes hands during & just after WW2.

He'd been installed as Chairman of the Board in Smythes absence when he formed a Sportsmans Brigade & went overseas, did a terrific job of it, and upon Smythes return there was considerable reluctance by the other members of the Board to re-install Conn as Chairman. The Kennedy trade was a Lightning Rod, providing cover for Smythe initially, however when he turned out to be a Gem begrudgingly gave Selke some credit. There was considerable enmity there, not so much from Selke despite the ill treatment (and this after basically being Smythes right arm in building the Leafs, the farm system & the Gardens), more from Smythe who could be extraordinarily mean-spirited & vindictive.... The pieces fit the puzzle.

Follow the developments as evidenced in the links provided. It gets very interesting.

March 2, 1953 provided a very interesting perspective of the situation:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...=7061%2C162493

The CAHA made a very serious mistake. Towards the bottom of the LHS article they talk about "reorganizing the territory". At the time there were multiple other sanctionning bodies in Quebec governing amateur hockey. The QMHA = Quebec Minor Hockey Association was in place ostensibly for minor hockey as in youth hockey but could be amended to include minor league hockey plus there were a serious of smaller regional and school bodies that governed all school sports including hockey in a region. The school factor is still around causing immense grief to Hockey Quebec these last few years.

Also the CAHA position of using advertising was viewed as a threat that existing contracts with QAHA members would not be respected - a nod at "Free Agency". The deadline for 1952-53 transfers had passed but the future was another matter.

The QSHL then entered the frey indicating they were going professional to compete with the AHL and WHL as a minor pro league. Notice the attendance figures stated and the support of the NHL in this regard. This would severely impact end of season revenues to the CAHA.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...7240%2C1102267

The QSHL was moving forward by March 6, 1953. The resigned from the QAHA/CAHA March 8, 1953 - Note that the Montreal Royals initiated the motion and they were supported by friends.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...7218%2C1391121

As for the Memorial and Allan Cup situation there was unity except for the Quebec Citadelles a potential junior finalist.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...7154%2C1782400

March 12, the positions are polarized even more:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...4203%2C2171066

Article to the left of the ad.

The Citadelles / Junior Canadiens final will be interesting on the ice and off the ice.

mbhhofr 05-11-2013 12:20 PM

One offshoot of this also involved the referees for the Memorial Cup Final. Back then, it was the East winner vs the West winner in a best of seven game series, with the Final alternating each year. One year all games played at the home of the East winner and the next year they were played at the home of the West winner.

The winner from the East was always from the OHA. The referee for the series had to be from a neutral league, thus the referee couldn't be from the OHA when the games were played in the West. I heard a few complaints from OHA referees.

Killion 05-11-2013 01:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 (Post 65824107)
Follow the developments as evidenced in the links provided. It gets very interesting.

Ya, just gets more & more convoluted, with old Tommy Gorman of Ottawa angrily weighing in as well, and none too happy with Dudley & the CAHA, who effectively boxed in the QSHL whereby they'd be damned if they did play the Maritime Sr League for the Alexander Cup & damned as well if they played the WHL in a Playoff's. The Forum, the Montreal Canadiens & Baby Hab's meanwhile in attempt to I suppose diffuse the situation somewhat ship the player who precipitated much of the acrimony out (?) and yet thats not enough to appease Dudley & the CAHA either.... the more I read of this, the more Im convinced Smythe was behind it & up to his neck. Theres just no way reasonable people after what the QAHA actually did that the CAHA shouldve continued to throw their weight around like that. Dudleys strings were being pulled.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mbhhofr (Post 65826289)
...I heard a few complaints from OHA referees.

Why would they "complain" about that? Refereeing in the Memorial Cup is certainly an honour I should think & likely helpful in terms of career advancement. That they werent afforded the opportunity because at that time the OHA was pretty much the creme de la creme of Major Junior Leagues across the country that they felt they should just be given a bye? Included? How could you do that without the possibility of accusations of bias (which based on my experiences with referee's are generally bogus & specious, unfounded, as 99.99% of them are completely dispassionate & entirely objective)? However, in order to remove that 00.001% chance, just go with guys from BC, Alberta or wherever that dont have teams competing. I agree with that policy.... on the far end of how if you dont do that you wanna see games get derailed, look no further than the 72 Summit Series.

Canadiens1958 05-12-2013 08:58 AM

Ides of March Approach Part II
 
The declaration of the Quebec participant in the Memorial Cup Eastern playoff had to be made April 1, 1953 as mandated by the CAHA. The final was scheduled as a best of 9 between the first place Junior Canadiens and the second place Quebec Citadelles. Normally the format for such a series would be 2/2/1/1/1/1/1/, first place team getting the first two ganes at home then the second place team would have two games at home followed by the odd numbered games at the home of the first place team, even games at the home of the second place team.

In 1953 this was very problematic. The NHL Canadiens had to prioritize dates at the Forum for the Stanley Cup finals - 8 dates,QSHL Royals in the QSHL semi-final,plus allow 4 dates for the seven game QSHL finals between the Quebec Aces (with Jean Beliveau) and the Montreal Royals, while honouring commitments to previously scheduled events - wrestling, indoor track and field.

So the first game was played in Quebec City:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...7217%2C2598624

Also March 16, 1953 the CAHA announced a post season series between the Allan and Alexander cup winners. Recuperating lost revenues for the CAHA and the Maritimes:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...2244%2C2768966

Game 2 in Quebec City:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...7296%2C3155478


Game 3 in Montreal:
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...7017%2C3792865

This was the last game of the series. Phil Watson was sanctionned for his for his actions in Game 3 and a dispute arose over the scheduling of games 4 and 5.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...6921%2C4000539

The Quebec Citadelles and Phil Watson then asked the CAHA for reinstatement:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...7142%2C4412485

CAHA not only reinstated the Citadelles but gave them a Memorial Cup playdown spot.

The QAHA, the Canadiens and the Quebec Aces reacted very quickly. Regardless of how they did in the Memorial Cup playdowns going forward they were finished in Quebec junior hockey.

The QAHA and the CAHA made amends. Details later, The Quebec Frontenacs replaced the Quebec Citadelles in the QJHL. The Citadelles started the 1953-54 season in the OHA but did not survive December, their players absorbed by the Quebec Frontenacs.

Killion 05-12-2013 11:38 AM

Interesting. A 9 Game Final? Wasnt that a little unusual, rather than 7? ... and I see the diminutive Camille Henry was starring for the Citadelles in his final year of Junior, going on to an NHL & minor pro career. Married for a short time to popular entertainer Dominique Michel. Camille after retiring dying at a relatively young age in QC, combination of Diabetes, alcohol.

Canadiens1958 05-12-2013 11:41 AM

Sale of the Quebec Citadelles
 
The Quebec Citadelles (OHA) were sold to the Quebec Frontenacs (QJHL) on December 14, 1953. Details:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...1502%2C5519917

Frank Selke and the Canadiens contributed $17,000 plus a river of crocodile tears while laughing all the way to the bank depositing his share from the interlocking games that the OHA teams played at the Forum.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...1457%2C5604772

The details of the sale and the distribution of the players are in the above link.

A few points. Gerald Martineau was a sitting member of the provincial parliament - Union National / Maurice Duplessis.

Phil Renaud was a loyal Canadiens farmhand / scout:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...5863%2C2115534

Canadiens1958 05-12-2013 12:03 PM

Economics
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Killion (Post 65870479)
Interesting. A 9 Game Final? Wasnt that a little unusual, rather than 7? ... and I see the diminutive Camille Henry was starring for the Citadelles in his final year of Junior, going on to an NHL & minor pro career. Married for a short time to popular entertainer Dominique Michel. Camille after retiring dying at a relatively young age in QC, combination of Diabetes, alcohol.

Junior and Senior hockey economics in Canada, shorten the regular season, lengthen the playoffs thus boosting the gate.

Usually took 2-3 series to get out of a league, 2 to 3 more to make the Memorial Cup.Most leagues featured a 40 - 48 game regular season, give or take. 6 series maximum at 7 to 9 games yield 42 - 54 games, with home games near capacity. True the periphial league series tended to be sweeps but sold out arenas in remote towns.

Best example of this would be MLG. Regular season OHA junior Sunday doubleheader yet wanted to host the Memorial Cup every time it was in the east.

Canadiens1958 05-12-2013 01:54 PM

May 1953 Reconcilliation
 
May 1953 was the time for reconcilliation between the CAHA and the QAHA. CAHA meeting in Niagara Falls, May 10th:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...7430%2C1837675

May 11,1953. The QSHL turns pro and the CAHA meetings continue:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...7234%2C2032460

The two stories are side by side.

May 12, 1953 QAHA reinstated by the CAHA:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...3090%2C2237242

Then there was the CAHA and Frank Selke going at it:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...3792%2C2633332

NHL June meetings:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...5419%2C1896848

NHL terminates agreement with CAHA:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...6975%2C2134352

Clarifications:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...7123%2C2380485

An interesting summer in store.

Killion 05-12-2013 03:10 PM

Fascinating snapshot of an acrimonious period. Had far reaching implications, the echo's of which can still be heard today if one cares to listen. Particularly enjoyed Selkes' comment, that in the CAHA "we've created a Frankenstein".

Canadiens1958 05-12-2013 03:40 PM

Gets Better
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Killion (Post 65878457)
Fascinating snapshot of an acrimonious period. Had far reaching implications, the echo's of which can still be heard today if one cares to listen. Particularly enjoyed Selkes' comment, that in the CAHA "we've created a Frankenstein".

It gets better. Amazing part to date is the silence of Conn Smythe.

Killion 05-12-2013 03:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 (Post 65879611)
It gets better. Amazing part to date is the silence of Conn Smythe.

Does he ever come out from behind the curtain or does he just continue to pull Dudleys strings unseen? I cant remember reading about this sorry chapter in his autobiography nor in other books detailing his life & times, much of it revisionist, whitewashed or varnished.

Theokritos 05-12-2013 04:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Killion (Post 65878457)
Particularly enjoyed Selkes' comment, that in the CAHA "we've created a Frankenstein".

He actually said that the CAHA had "created a Frankenstein" in their ruling in the Attwell case.

Theokritos 05-12-2013 05:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Killion (Post 65829283)
How could you do that without the possibility of accusations of bias (which based on my experiences with referee's are generally bogus & specious, unfounded, as 99.99% of them are completely dispassionate & entirely objective)? However, in order to remove that 00.001% chance, just go with guys from BC, Alberta or wherever that dont have teams competing. I agree with that policy.... on the far end of how if you dont do that you wanna see games get derailed, look no further than the 72 Summit Series.

Huh? There were no Canadian or Soviet referees in the 72 Summit Series.

Killion 05-12-2013 05:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Theokritos (Post 65885701)
Huh? There were no Canadian or Soviet referees in the 72 Summit Series.

Just lousy officiating and claims of bias.

Theokritos 05-12-2013 06:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Killion (Post 65887199)
Just lousy officiating and claims of bias.

In any case not because they failed to apply the policy you support.

Killion 05-12-2013 06:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Theokritos (Post 65888895)
In any case not because they failed to apply the policy you support.

Your point being what exactly?

mbhhofr 05-12-2013 08:20 PM

The referees for the 72 Summit series had to be from neutral countries. They used US referees for the games played in Canada. I was on the short list, but even though I lived in the US, I was still a Canadian citizen and there was no way the Soviets would approve of me reffing any of the games.

Theokritos 05-13-2013 05:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Killion (Post 65891735)
Your point being what exactly?

You said:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Killion (Post 65829283)
...in order to remove that 00.001% chance, just go with guys from BC, Alberta or wherever that dont have teams competing. I agree with that policy.... on the far end of how if you dont do that you wanna see games get derailed, look no further than the 72 Summit Series.

The underlined part suggests that they did not "do that" in the 72 Summit Series. Well, they did:

Quote:

Originally Posted by mbhhofr (Post 65899945)
The referees for the 72 Summit series had to be from neutral countries.


Canadiens1958 05-13-2013 06:47 AM

Point is Merit
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Theokritos (Post 65930451)
You said:



The underlined part suggests that they did not "do that" in the 72 Summit Series. Well, they did:

Point is that the selection of referees should be based strictly on merit as opposed to provenance otherwise the event in question may not be as attractive or spectacular as it should be.

BTW, they did not do that in the 1972 Summit Series. If we accept your portrayal of 1972 then the selection of so-called "neutral" referees was tainted by the organizers not willing to pay travel expenses for NA on ice officials to work games in Moscow and European on ice officials to work games in Canada.

No different that the various Canadian governing bodies saving a few dollars on officiating by using regional officials as opposed to the best qualified. This has been done for generations and continues today.


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