1954 - Habs Initiation of Rookie Jounalist Red Fisher
Posted this in the HISTORY OF HOCKEY board.
But thought it would be relevant to post here also.
Red Fisher has been covering the Habs since 1954. He is the longest-serving beat writer presently covering an NHL team.
He is being inducted into the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame and counting down the top 10 moments of his career.
Here is #6 :
an article he wrote about the hazing he received in 1955
at the hands of the Habs after he talked back to Maurice Richard.
"The initiation of rookies is a tradition at the professional level. Rookies don't win veterans' trust or confidence simply by being there. There are tests to be endured, rites of passage to experience, and woe to anyone who tries to avoid them. When the Canadiens travelled by train, the sleeping car always was where the initiation -involving a bucket of ice, wet towels, warm water and an electric shaver -took place. First-year players normally had to go through them -and so did rookie reporters. No exceptions. My initiation didn't take place until my second season on the beat.
"We were looking for you on the train the other night," Maurice Richard said to me after a practice during the 1956-57 season. "The guys were wondering where you were."
"Forget it, Rocket," I said. "Now and then, I'm flying home. Anyway, the first guy who comes close to me gets punched in the jaw."
This, needless to say, was a big mistake. Nobody, not anyone, talks to the Rocket that way -even in jest. He meant too much to everyone, including me."
Great story. He should have taken his medicine.
Goes to show just how close knit the reporters/teams used to be.
Nowadays things are different. Reporters of Red's initial era wouldn't wirte those expose type stories. They built the players up like heros and never said, let alone wrote anything about the players indiscretions (course they had their own indescritions to worry about). This story sort of speaks to that. With those guys being initiatied just like a player. Initiatied into the NHL lifestyle - the Canadiens culture, in this case.
A lot of that changed in the late 60's when athletes became more public figures.
It's amazing it took Red that long just to break code and actually write about that.