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Debunking the myth that the Canadiens had rights to any players in Quebec

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01-14-2010, 06:09 PM
  #1
dre2112
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Debunking the myth that the Canadiens had rights to any players in Quebec

A very excellent read debunking the myth that the late Canadiens teams were stacked because they had territorial rights to any players from the province of Quebec.

In short; absolutely not true and here's why:

Quote:
What the NHL's brain trust decided to do was they would attempt to help Montreal's attendance and thereby hopefully their bottom line financially. So they decided that the Montreal Canadiens could take any two players from the province of Quebec in a special draft. There was one rider however. None of these players could have already been previously signed to a C form (confirmation form) with any other club.

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Montreal protected 14 players through this special draft. Unfortunately none of them ever played a minute in the NHL. Reason being, anybody who could tie their skates and chew gum at the same time were already long signed by other NHL teams including the Canadiens who certainly wern't going to survive solely with this rule
Quote:
Selke had a vision about a series of teams in the minor leagues that would be stocked with players that Montreal would sign to C forms. These minor league teams and the players on them were soon to be known as 'a farm system.' This was the origin of the farm system as we know it today
Quote:
. From 1963-1967 none of the players Montreal selected played one minute in the NHL, ever. Finally in 1968, they drafted their first live one. A goalie named Michel Plasse
Quote:
Montreal was given one final kick at the French Canadian can and they made the most of it by selecting Rejean Houle and Marc Tardif. That was it for the French rule.
Read the whole story, it's very interesting:
http://www.liam.ca/ed20040319.html

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01-14-2010, 07:46 PM
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It doesnít matter if they had the Ďrightí. Prior do the implementation of the amateur draft playerís rights were on a first come first serve basis, if a player signed a C form their rights would belong to that team. Also I am not sure but didnít teams have territorial rights to players in their city?

Montreal set up networks of junior and senior leagues in Quebec and elsewhere and those players would belong to Montreal in the future. This system ensured a near monopoly of players from Quebec, while it wasnít their Ďrightí Montrealís development system meant it didnít have to be a right. I am not sure if the American teams did the same but if they had to call upon the pool of players in their own state it would obviously be inferior to Montreal and Toronto.

It is pretty clear that Toronto and Montreal did so well prior to expansion and the draft because they had the largest pool of players to draw upon. While it wasnít entrenched in NHL law, it didnít have to be because the laws of player rights and development favoured the two Canadian teams. Other teams were usually left to pick up the left over players Toronto and Montreal didnít want.

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01-14-2010, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finchster View Post
It doesnít matter if they had the Ďrightí. Prior do the implementation of the amateur draft playerís rights were on a first come first serve basis, if a player signed a C form their rights would belong to that team. Also I am not sure but didnít teams have territorial rights to players in their city?

Montreal set up networks of junior and senior leagues in Quebec and elsewhere and those players would belong to Montreal in the future. This system ensured a near monopoly of players from Quebec, while it wasnít their Ďrightí Montrealís development system meant it didnít have to be a right. I am not sure if the American teams did the same but if they had to call upon the pool of players in their own state it would obviously be inferior to Montreal and Toronto.

It is pretty clear that Toronto and Montreal did so well prior to expansion and the draft because they had the largest pool of players to draw upon. While it wasnít entrenched in NHL law, it didnít have to be because the laws of player rights and development favoured the two Canadian teams. Other teams were usually left to pick up the left over players Toronto and Montreal didnít want.
Exactly. I think the territorial rights you mention was a team getting first crack at any players within a 50-mile radius of their arena; I'm sure somebody knows the exact details. This alone would give Montreal and Toronto a tremendous advantage, and a big edge to Detroit as well. It's not just a coincidence that Chicago, Boston, and New York took turns being league doormat for the entire original six era.

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01-14-2010, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by finchster View Post
It doesn’t matter if they had the ‘right’. Prior do the implementation of the amateur draft player’s rights were on a first come first serve basis, if a player signed a C form their rights would belong to that team. Also I am not sure but didn’t teams have territorial rights to players in their city?

Montreal set up networks of junior and senior leagues in Quebec and elsewhere and those players would belong to Montreal in the future. This system ensured a near monopoly of players from Quebec, while it wasn’t their ‘right’ Montreal’s development system meant it didn’t have to be a right. I am not sure if the American teams did the same but if they had to call upon the pool of players in their own state it would obviously be inferior to Montreal and Toronto.

It is pretty clear that Toronto and Montreal did so well prior to expansion and the draft because they had the largest pool of players to draw upon. While it wasn’t entrenched in NHL law, it didn’t have to be because the laws of player rights and development favoured the two Canadian teams. Other teams were usually left to pick up the left over players Toronto and Montreal didn’t want.
Regardless, the idea that Montreal had sole rights to Quebec born players is ridiculous. Everyone dumps on the Canadiens organization for having such an advantage when all teams had the same rights/advantages to signing players under the age of 20

And as you mentioned, Toronto was just as much a beneficiary to being in a location where more/better players were playing yet it's only Montreal that is ever brought up.

As for the farm team, i don't see it as something you could use against the Canadiens to say they had an advantage. It was something the owner came up with to benefit the team. We don't knock the Red Wings for having an unfair advantage over other teams because they draft well or have some of the best development in the league... don't see how this is any different. Selke was just ahead of his time

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01-15-2010, 01:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dre2112 View Post
Regardless, the idea that Montreal had sole rights to Quebec born players is ridiculous. Everyone dumps on the Canadiens organization for having such an advantage when all teams had the same rights/advantages to signing players under the age of 20
It doesn't matter if they had sole rights or not, they didn't have the 'right' but it was pretty much a fact of life they would get the top players from Quebec. It wasn’t a law in the NHL or a right, it was just the facts that they had a system in place so that Quebec born players would more often than not play for Montreal. The Montreal Canadiens had the largest pool of players to draw upon which is why they were so successful.

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Originally Posted by dre2112 View Post
And as you mentioned, Toronto was just as much a beneficiary to being in a location where more/better players were playing yet it's only Montreal that is ever brought up.
The visuals are just not there. Players like Bobby Hull, Ted Lindsey, Milt Schmidt and others were all from Ontario and played for American teams. It never appeared that the Toronto Maple Leafs had control over an entire province like Montreal did. My guess is Toronto’s player pool was as large as Montreal.

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Originally Posted by dre2112 View Post
As for the farm team, i don't see it as something you could use against the Canadiens to say they had an advantage. It was something the owner came up with to benefit the team. We don't knock the Red Wings for having an unfair advantage over other teams because they draft well or have some of the best development in the league... don't see how this is any different. Selke was just ahead of his time
You are correct they were well within the rules to set up this farm system of players. They didn’t break any rules and other teams were welcome to set up a similar system. But try building a farm system around New York State, Massachusetts and Illinois and just see how many quality players you will find from 1920-1967. Other teams did not have any access to this pool of players. I don’t see why it is such a big deal to say Montreal did have an advantage because of their location and hockey market. Look at soccer teams from Europe, the best teams in the past and now had the largest talent pools to draw upon, just the facts.

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01-15-2010, 09:33 AM
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...I'm just not feeling that it's a myth right now.

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01-15-2010, 09:44 AM
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I think we have a whole sticky (or whole section of a sticky) devoted to research and discussion of this issue on the Habs board. I'm too lazy to cut and paste the pertinent parts over here, but anyone inclined to read more, and wants all the info in one place, I encourage you to check over there.

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01-15-2010, 09:51 AM
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Habs spent a lot of money back then to sponsor junior clubs. Many teams wouldn't do it. Or, couldn't do it. Spending big on sponsorship started for the Habs with Tommy Gorman came over as GM after the war.

Montreal never had sole rights to all Quebec players, many Hall-of-Famers from Quebec never played for the Habs. A few examples would be Rod Gilbert, Ratelle, Marcel Pronovost and many others. That was a myth started by people jealous of Montreal's success at the time.

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01-15-2010, 04:07 PM
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At one point teams had what was called a "negotiation list". It was a handy tool to tie up the rights of a player even if they had no interest in aligning themselves with the club in question.

Placing a player's name on your negotiation list, gave you exclusive rights to him. Usually the way it went was someone was placed on the list and the league office was informed. Then the team tried generally tried to sign him as quickly as possible because there was a limit (4?) to the number of men you could have on your list.

Often used on "can't miss " prospects to avoid a bidding war between multiple teams. There may have been a limit to the length of time one could spend on the list. No sure/do not remember.

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01-15-2010, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
...I'm just not feeling that it's a myth right now.
Yeah....no kidding.

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01-15-2010, 05:46 PM
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Nope, pre expansion teams had rights to sign local players..

It was a radius thing though... If you lived in a certain radius of your home team that club would have the right to sign you above another team.

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01-15-2010, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by GNick42 View Post
Habs spent a lot of money back then to sponsor junior clubs. Many teams wouldn't do it. Or, couldn't do it. Spending big on sponsorship started for the Habs with Tommy Gorman came over as GM after the war.

Montreal never had sole rights to all Quebec players, many Hall-of-Famers from Quebec never played for the Habs. A few examples would be Rod Gilbert, Ratelle, Marcel Pronovost and many others. That was a myth started by people jealous of Montreal's success at the time.
Yeah they only bought an entire league for one player.

Talk about poaching players?

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01-15-2010, 05:52 PM
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seventieslord
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GNick42 View Post
Habs spent a lot of money back then to sponsor junior clubs. Many teams wouldn't do it. Or, couldn't do it. Spending big on sponsorship started for the Habs with Tommy Gorman came over as GM after the war.

Montreal never had sole rights to all Quebec players, many Hall-of-Famers from Quebec never played for the Habs. A few examples would be Rod Gilbert, Ratelle, Marcel Pronovost and many others. That was a myth started by people jealous of Montreal's success at the time.
I'm not 100% sure, but I read that Tommy Gorman deserves major credit for getting some Habs' players war-related day jobs so that they didn't have to go to war, thus keeping the Habs strong. So wouldn't that mean he was there before the war?

Actually, I'm pretty sure I read he put the entire team on waivers except for Toe Blake in the late 1930s when the team sucked... so I think he was there long before the war affected the NHL.

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01-15-2010, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Hawksfan2828 View Post
Yeah they only bought an entire league for one player.

Talk about poaching players?
that was a senior league that they bought. Not sure that it changes your point, but you bolded the part about junior sponsorship so I thought I'd point that out.

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01-15-2010, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
I'm not 100% sure, but I read that Tommy Gorman deserves major credit for getting some Habs' players war-related day jobs so that they didn't have to go to war, thus keeping the Habs strong. So wouldn't that mean he was there before the war?


1940, to be exact.

Quote:
Actually, I'm pretty sure I read he put the entire team on waivers except for Toe Blake in the late 1930s when the team sucked... so I think he was there long before the war affected the NHL.
History of hockey means history...
And history means anachronisms

Quilty and Benoit went to war, Chamberlain and Getliffe were alrady here, the Reardons arrived by his tenure, Demers went to jail, Mantha retired, and a truckload of players were sent to NYR for Phil Watson.

Some retired and some replaced them.

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01-15-2010, 06:38 PM
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that was a senior league that they bought. Not sure that it changes your point, but you bolded the part about junior sponsorship so I thought I'd point that out.
I just thought it was highly aggressive to buy an entire league to get JB..

Not to mention they had rights to all players from the Montreal area to begin with..

Then American teams had to go pretty much to the middle of no where to find players...

IMO the Habs were spoiled to death with talent in the original 6 era and buying leagues to force players who never wanted to play for them in the first place is insane..

Don't get me wrong I have no ill will against the Habs, I just think back in those days they felt entitled..

^^ Sorry for the semi-rant..

I hope you Habs fans dont take it the wrong way, that was many years ago.

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01-15-2010, 08:12 PM
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I just thought it was highly aggressive to buy an entire league to get JB..

Not to mention they had rights to all players from the Montreal area to begin with..

Then American teams had to go pretty much to the middle of no where to find players...

IMO the Habs were spoiled to death with talent in the original 6 era and buying leagues to force players who never wanted to play for them in the first place is insane..

Don't get me wrong I have no ill will against the Habs, I just think back in those days they felt entitled..

^^ Sorry for the semi-rant..

I hope you Habs fans dont take it the wrong way, that was many years ago.
I'm not a habs fan, and I don't take it the wrong way. I think the JB situation exemplifies just how much the habs had to get their way.

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01-16-2010, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
I'm not 100% sure, but I read that Tommy Gorman deserves major credit for getting some Habs' players war-related day jobs so that they didn't have to go to war, thus keeping the Habs strong. So wouldn't that mean he was there before the war?
Actually it was Frank Selke who started Montreal sponsoring junior clubs. He joined the team immediately following the war. I just read it in Todd Denault's book on Jacques Plante. Talk about luck??

Selke bought idea over from the Leafs organization after a split between him and Conn Smythe. Talk about luck for the Habs?? If Selke and Smythe never have a falling out, Habs dynasties and hockey's greatest franchise never come about. Funny how things work out...Habs rival give them their biggest plus.

Selke wanted junior clubs in all areas of the country. Especially at home. Big gamble for the Habs at the time and big money. But certainly one that paid off handsomely. Selke was also the one who hired a 21 year-old Sam Pollock, because he found him very astute in hockey matters for being so young. Selke's decision would not be a wrong one as Pollock is arguably, one of greatest GMs of all time. Funny how things change they stay the same. Pollock went on to take another major gamble, one that paid off similar to Selke's gamble, trading off his veteran players for draft choices. Under Pollock the Habs were able to capture an amazing 10 more Stanley Cups in his 15 years as GM. A feat I feel will never be matched.

Most of Habs 24 Cups, all boils down to a split back in '46 in the Leafs front office between Selke and Conn Smythe.

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01-16-2010, 08:38 AM
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sorry--but under the original 6 teams the 50 mile thing was only put in when there were trading of territorials rights

Both boston and Detroit at different times had claim to Northern Alberta--My father was property of the Red Wings for awhile and there is a reason why Boston Pizza started in Edmonton--Boston had traded for the rights with the wings..

Montreal all had first shot at all quebec born players and the a quebec born player could only sign with another club if Montreal either traded their rights or released them--montreal were backed into a corner when they players had no more junior eligibility==Either montreal had to find them a place to play or they had to give up the rights

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01-16-2010, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jumptheshark View Post

Montreal all had first shot at all quebec born players and the a quebec born player could only sign with another club if Montreal either traded their rights or released them--montreal were backed into a corner when they players had no more junior eligibility==Either montreal had to find them a place to play or they had to give up the rights
This is incorrect.

For example, Marcel Pronovost was born in Lac a la Tortue and grew up in Shawinigan, Quebec. A scout named Marcel Cote from the Detroit Red Wings went to Shawinigan on the recommendation of Larry Wilson and saw him play as a teenager. The Red Wings immediately signed Pronovost to a C-Form (since no other team, including the Canadiens had) and he was on his way.

To clarify, Pronovost was a junior player born and raised in Quebec and he signed with Detroit. Montreal at no time held his rights, and Detroit required no permission from Montreal to acquire his rights.

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11-30-2010, 04:08 PM
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Oh Yeah, the Habs did real good on the Quebec rule. What a joke! The rule netted them Rejean Houle, a third liner and Marc Tardif. Who they had for three mediocre seasons before he jumped to the WHA.

I cannot understand how a top media guy like Damian Cox can say the french canadian rule was reason Montreal won all those cups??


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11-30-2010, 09:09 PM
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There's actually two different arguments going on over two different subjects.

The "Myth" as it were, mostly has to do with people associating this rule with the actual Entry Draft.
To which most are ignorant to the fact that the Draft wasn't implemented in it's current form until the late 60's.
The reality is, as has already been pointed out, that it was only actually applied for a few years at the beginning of the Entry Draft.
Years, I might add, had very little to choose from, as all the talent was already signed under the previous system anyway.
Previous to the actual forming of the Entry Draft, this "Rule" was basically the equivalent of having the first 2 picks in the waiver draft.


As for territorial rights, that's a separate argument and a complicated subject.
However...the point should be made that the Habs didn't necessarily have the automatic rights to players in Quebec.
They pretty much just simply signed any french player that showed even a moderate amount of talent, all at very young ages.
There are many stories of french players starting to light it up at age 16-17 and the like.
Scouts getting word of them would then head up to see said players only to find out the Habs had already signed them 2 years previous before said players had even displayed such talent.


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12-01-2010, 05:52 AM
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Territorial rights to those players were originally open to all teams though. As Montreal did not have rights to all top players from province of Quebec. They couldn't have as a few examples would be Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle, Marcel Pronovost, Dave Keon and a host of other top Quebec born players who did not belong to Montreal. Montreal had the fore sight to fund teams to get many players but not all Quebec. It was a gamble and an expensive one to sponsor clubs.

Montreal did similar sponsorship in other provinces to net them players. Provinces excluding Quebec, most notably western Canada. A few examples would Elmer Lach, Tom Johnson, Ken Reardon, Terry Harper. Western Canada was also opened up to all NHL clubs at the time. Not solely Montreal.

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12-05-2010, 01:45 PM
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Does nobody remember sponsored Jr teams like Verdun Maple Leafs or Sorel Blackhawks?
All across the country there were sponsored Jr teams. I remember the Fredericton Red Wings and the Halifax Canadiens.
The most famous was the Kitchener Rangers who asked the NY Rangers if they could keep the name and logo in 1968 when Hockey Canada or CAHA at the time said NHL teams could no longer sponsor teams and own players. That was the year of the seperation of Jr hockey into Major Jr and Jr A.
Mind you the NHL Entry draft was being put in place.

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10-21-2013, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GNick42 View Post
Actually it was Frank Selke who started Montreal sponsoring junior clubs. He joined the team immediately following the war. I just read it in Todd Denault's book on Jacques Plante. Talk about luck??

Selke bought idea over from the Leafs organization after a split between him and Conn Smythe. Talk about luck for the Habs?? If Selke and Smythe never have a falling out, Habs dynasties and hockey's greatest franchise never come about. Funny how things work out...Habs rival give them their biggest plus.

Selke wanted junior clubs in all areas of the country. Especially at home. Big gamble for the Habs at the time and big money. But certainly one that paid off handsomely. Selke was also the one who hired a 21 year-old Sam Pollock, because he found him very astute in hockey matters for being so young. Selke's decision would not be a wrong one as Pollock is arguably, one of greatest GMs of all time. Funny how things change they stay the same. Pollock went on to take another major gamble, one that paid off similar to Selke's gamble, trading off his veteran players for draft choices. Under Pollock the Habs were able to capture an amazing 10 more Stanley Cups in his 15 years as GM. A feat I feel will never be matched.

Most of Habs 24 Cups, all boils down to a split back in '46 in the Leafs front office between Selke and Conn Smythe.
A large amount of the Cups won under Pollock were won with the Players gained from the pre fair draft era pre 69.

Not many know that in order for the NHL to expand in 67 the NHL had to end the monopoly on the pipeline to top French jr talent the Habs had.
The prospective and established owners of the incoming teams saw how unfair the access was to top French jr age talent and demanded change.

If it was up to the Habs the NHL would still be 6 teams so they didn't have to give up owning most of the top end French jr talent pipeline teams and league(s).

source below.
Cruise, David and Griffiths, Alison (1991). Net Worth: Exploding The Myths of Pro Hockey. Stoddart Publishing

A large group of the Cups that the Habs won were due to them owning jr teams/leagues in the prime hockey enrollment areas. I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT THE TERRITORIAL RULE. It would be like the Leafs owning the OMHA and the GTHL and being able to snag any player they wanted prior to the draft.

I wish people would stop saying that the territorial rule is the reason the Habs had such an advantage, it wasn't and it only applied to any player who didn't all ready have a c-form. Back then most top players had a c-form by the age of 14-16 some as young as 12. It was 1st and foremost that most of the top talent back then was French and most French players wanted to play for the Habs. The 2nd reason was that the Habs were 1st to set up jr teams and leagues in areas that had high rates of hockey enrollment. Back then if a player played on/in a team/league that was owned by the Habs then the Habs owned the player as well. By the time the other teams got wind of what the Habs were doing it was too late to be competitive as far as jr development because the Habs had allready laid claim to the best areas. What really blows me away is that the NHL actually allowed that to happen.

most info from http://www.amazon.com/Behind-Cheerin.../dp/B0006CV4IY <<great read a lot of info about how he implemented his jr talent monopoly. only up to 62 tho

Look at total # of C-forms each NHL team signed and the Habs had more than any other NHL team had combined, not just the other 5 but any other NHL team that existed prior to the 67 expansion. Ya see other teams would scout individuals but the Habs would basically sign everything they could and keep the best. By doing that they made thousands of NHL caliber players unavailable to the other teams. Its sad really.

source http://www.habsworld.net/article.php?id=1476

As an additional point go look at the NHL draft page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NHL_Entry_Draft and look at the drafts up till 69. You will notice that pretty much all the top guys are from Ontario teams/leagues then look in 69 once the Habs stranglehold is broken at how many Que players are now in the top part of the draft.

Also the political climate in Que was such that the Habs were a beacon to the French and it was of upmost importance to the province that the Habs remained dominant. Believe it or not the province of Que actually helped the Montreal Canadians pay to implement their jr farm teams.
source
http://proicehockey.about.com/od/hoc.../canadiens.htm

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