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.
Exactly but here is more detailed account from The death of hockey which shows how far it reached and I'm paraphrasing what happened after the 47 and 58 NHL-CAHA in which teams could control,
"sponsor" not more than 3 officially affiliated teams of midget category or higher and a total of not more than 60 players. The CAHA enabled the professional clubs to control hundreds of players by defining a "club" as consisting of a senior, intermediate, junior "A", junior "B" or juvenile, midget, and bantam teams and all of the "house
league" players affiliated with those teams. Thus if an NHL team controlled the town's junior "A" team it controlled every registered player in town. The CAHA even provided the form by which the amateur player signed away his future.
There were also 7 other types of lists to control any loophole players.
Maybe Montreal didn't control every player in Quebec but it sure was close to absolute.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Good post but it's improbable, heck even close to impossible that there were 1000's of NHL caliber players in Quebec that never got a chance because of the reserve clause system.
maybe I'm a little late to this but I apologize that Americans aren't nearly as good as hockey and have to rely on Canadian players for any success for their teams to have and to help grow the sport in their country.
I felt like the radius thing was more than fair. If you truly care about hockey you grow it in your cities and draft and develop.