Dignity After Hockey was created to assist former professional hockey players who have fallen on hard times. It has been a long-standing tradition in hockey to protect a teammate when he needs help. Unfortunately, many retired players, long since departed from the game, still require help with financial and medical problems.

Kurt Walker is the founder of Dignity After Hockey. Kurt played in the National Hockey League for the Toronto Maple Leafs and is determined to unite the hockey and business communities in an effort to aid those in need.


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Steven Mini Steven Mini shared Mark Beland's post to the group: Dignity After Hockey.20.08.2017 at 09:58 amLike
Erin Diesing Schollaert If you are a hockey mom and you can read this article without belly laughing and totally relating at the same time, I am going to need to know how you did it...seriously.Erin Diesing Schollaert shared a link to the group: Dignity After Hockey.20.08.2017 at 02:23 pmLike
George Kuhn This day in hockey history, August 4th 1921, one of the great legends of the game was born in Montreal, Quebec. Maurice “The Rocket” Richard was the biggest star in the NHL in the 1940's and 1950's and one of the most famous players in hockey history.

Richard was nicknamed "the Comet" early in his career. When teammate Ray Getliffe remarked that Richard "went in like a rocket" as he approached the opposition goal, Richard was dubbed "The Rocket" by a local sportswriter; both Baz O'Meara from the Montreal Star and Dink Carroll of the Montreal Gazette have been credited for the nickname which was descriptive of Richard's play in terms of speed, strength, and determination. Teammate and coach Toe Blake said the moniker was fitting because "when he would take off, nothing got in his way that could stop him". Goaltender Jacques Plante declared it one of the most appropriate nicknames given to an athlete, noting the fierce intensity that often showed in Richard's eyes and comparing it to "the rocket's red glare" referenced in "The Star-Spangled Banner". Glenn Hall agreed: "What I remember most about Rocket was his eyes. When he came flying toward you with the puck on his stick, his eyes were all lit up, flashing and gleaming like a pinball machine. It was terrifying."

A pure goal-scorer, Richard did not play with finesse, nor was he known for his passing. One of his teammates remarked that "Maurice wouldn't even pass you the salt". Richard led the NHL in goals five times, but never in points. He was best known for dashing toward the net from the blue line and was equally adept at scoring from his forehand or backhand. His exploits revived a Montreal Canadiens franchise that had struggled to draw fans in the 1930s. In addition to his 14 appearances on a post-season all-star team (eight on the first team, six on the second), Richard played in 13 consecutive NHL All-Star Games between 1947 and 1959.

Maurice started skating at age four on local rivers and like Wayne Gretzky and countless others grew up skating on a small backyard rink his father made. Richard developed his skills playing shinny and hog which was a game where the puck carrier would play keep away with the puck as long as he could. He did not play organized hockey until age 14.

Richard played for various teams in the same leagues and used make believe names like "Maurice Rochon" to get around rules limiting a player to one team in each league. In the 1938-39 season he scored 133 goals and the rest of the team combined scored 11 times. He propelled his team to three consecutive championships.

Richard quit school at age 16 and worked with his father as a machinist.He enrolled in a technical school, intent on earning a trade certificate. At 18, Richard joined the Verdun Juniors, though as a rookie he saw little ice time in the regular season. He scored four goals in ten regular season games, and added six goals in four playoff games as Verdun won the provincial championship. He was promoted to the Montreal Canadiens' affiliate in the Quebec Senior Hockey League in 1940, but suffered a broken ankle in his first game after crashing into the boards and missed the remainder of the season.The injury also aborted his hopes of joining the Canadian military: he was called to a recruitment centre in mid 1941, but was deemed unfit for combat.

Richard returned to the Quebec Senior League Canadiens for the 1941–42 season, playing 31 games with 17 points before suffering a broken wrist. With the Canadiens losing francophone players during WW2 Richard has shown enough ability earned him a tryout with the Canadiens in 1942. His contract paid $3,500 for the season he made his NHL debut wearing the unfamiliar number 15 on his sweater.. He scored his first goal on November 8, 1942 against the New York Rangers.

Richard's rookie season lasted only 16 games before he was injured again, suffering a broken leg. With his frequent injuries it seemed he was not suited for rough and tumble big league hockey.

Richard tried to enlist with the military again but was rejected when x-rays showed that his bones had not healed properly. His ankle was left permanently deformed, forcing him to alter his skating style. With his pride diminished from rejection, he kicked his training to a higher level and reported to Montreal's training camp for the 1943–44 season in completely healthy. He changed his uniform number to 9 to honor his newborn daughter Huguette who weighed 9 pounds at birth.

Richard played 46 games out of 50 and led the Canadiens with 32 goals and was third on the team with 54 points, third-best in his team.

Coach Dick Irvin moved Richard from left to right wing and placed him on a forward line with Toe Blake and Elmer Lach. They became known as the "Punch line" and dominated scoring in the 1940s. The Canadiens lost only six games after October, and went on to win the franchise's first Stanley Cup championship in 13 years. Richard led the league with 12 playoff goals, including a five goal game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the semi finals. He tied Newsy Lalonde's NHL record for goals in one playoff game and was named first, second and third star of the game. Richard was named a second team all star after the season. It was the first of 14 consecutive years he was named to the official NHL all star team.

Richard added his record setting reputation in the 1944–45 NHL season when he record for points in one game with five goals and three assists in a 9–1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on December 28, 1944. His eight points broke the previous record of seven held by three players. Richards eight points stood for 32 years until Darryl Sittler's 10 point game in 1976. Richard's accomplishment was all the more impressive considering that he had spent the day moving from one 5th floor apartment into another and was so exhausted that he considered skipping the game.

Richard scored goals at a record setting pace and was closing in on Joe Malone's NHL single season record of 44 goals in February. He scored his record 45th goal on February 25, 1945, in a 5–2 victory over Toronto with Malone at the game to present Richard with the puck used to score his record goal.

Opponents turned to violence to keep Richard from scoring as he approached 50 goals for the season. He had to fight past slashes, hooks, and even players who draped themselves across his back. Richard went eight games without scoring and began Montreal's final regular season game, March 18, on the road against the Boston Bruins with 49 goals. He reached the milestone by scoring with 2:15 remaining in the game in a 4–2 Montreal win. He was the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games, a feat which became a fabled achievement for players like Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy and Mario Lemieux. Richard finished the season with 73 points, seven behind Lach and six ahead of Blake, as the Punch line finished 1-2-3 in NHL scoring. Richard finished second in the voting for the Hart Trophy as league MVP behind Lach.

Richard's critics attributed his scoring record to the wartime talent dilution. With the returning players back for the 1945–46 season, his goals total dropped to to 27 as he won his second Stanley Cup with Montreal. Richard led the league in goals again in the 1946-47 season with 45 goals in 60 games and winning his only Hart Trophy as the league's MVP. He finished second or third in the Hart Trophy voting five times.

Opponents continued to drive Richard to anger or frustration, as they had learned he could be goaded into taking himself out of the game by retaliating and fighting. In the 1947 Stanley Cup Final when Richard received a match penalty for striking Toronto's Bill Ezinicki over the head with his stick in a game two loss. Richard was suspended for the third game of the series, which the Maple Leafs won.

As the reigning most valuable player, Richard sought a pay raise for the 1947–48 season. GM Frank Selke refused and Richard and team captain Émile Bouchard both sat out the Canadiens' preseason before giving in and returning to the team when the season began.

The Punch line was broken up after Blake suffered a career ending leg injury and Richard's season ended early as he missed the final games of the season due to a knee injury. He finished second in team scoring with 53 points in 53 games, but Montreal missed the playoffs. After recording only 38 points in the 1948–49 season, Richard had 65 points the next season and led the league with 43 goals, his third goal scoring crown. In 1950–51, Richard scored 42 goals including his 271st career goal, making him Montreal's all-time goal leader.

Richard missed over 20 games of the 1951–52 season due to injury. In game seven game of the semi finals against Boston, Richard was checked by Leo Labine and briefly knocked unconscious after he fell and struck his head on Bill Quackenbush's knee.

Though clearly dazed, Richard returned to the game late in the third period after a large cut above his eye was stitched up. Canadiens coach Dick Irvin sent Richard back onto the ice in the final minutes of the contest, despite knowing Richard had suffered a concussion. Richard scored the winning goal in a 2–1 victory that sent Montreal to the 1952 Stanley Cup Final.

Following the game, a bloodied and still disoriented Richard was photographed shaking the hand of Boston goaltender Jim Henry, who was also showing symptoms of injuries from the series and who appeared to be bowing to Richard following the Montreal player's "unconscious goal". The photograph by Roger St. Jean is among the most famous images of Richard. In the final, Montreal lost to Detroit in four straight games.

The 1952–53 season began with Richard in close pursuit of Nels Stewart's all-time NHL record of 324 goals. Richard tied the record in Toronto on October 29, 1952, by scoring two goals against the Maple Leafs; his achievement earned a rousing ovation from Montreal's rival fans. He failed to score in his following three games as frenzied fans followed each contest in anticipation of the record-breaking marker. In his fourth try, a November 8 game against Chicago, Richard scored his 325th goal at the 10:01 mark of the second period. According to the Montreal Gazette, the ovation Richard received from his fans "shook the rafters" of the Montreal Forum. He finished the season with team-leading totals of 61 points and 28 goals – becoming the first player in NHL history to score at least 20 goals in his first ten full seasons. Aided by Richard's 7 goals in 12 playoff games, the Canadiens defeated Boston in the 1953 Stanley Cup Final to capture Montreal's first Stanley Cup championship since 1946.

Richard led the league in goals for the fourth time in his career with 37 in 1953–54, then for a fifth time in 1954–55 with 38 (shared with Bernie Geoffrion). He scored his 400th career goal on December 18, 1954, against Chicago.

Opposition players continued to try to employ physical intimidation and force to stop Richard, and he often retaliated with equal force. The situation led to a running feud with NHL President Clarence Campbell. Richard had been fined numerous times by Campbell for on-ice incidents and at one point was forced to post a $1,000 "good-behavior bond" after he criticized Campbell in a weekly column he helped author for Samedi-Dimanche.

"What did Campbell do when Jean Béliveau was
deliberately injured twice by Bill Mosienko of Chicago
and Jack Evans of the Rangers? No penalty, no fine,
no suspension. Did he suspend Gordie Howe of
Detroit when he almost knocked out Dollard St.
Laurent's eye? No! ... Strange that only Dick Irvin and
I have the courage to risk our livelihood by defending
our rights against such a dictator."

Richard was among many in Quebec who believed that Campbell treated French Canadian players more harshly than their English counterparts. These tensions exploded the night of the infamous Richard Riot.

Maurice Richard said many times that, in order to understand the events leading up to the riot of March 17, 1955, it was important to know how violent the National Hockey League was in those days. Sticks were high, fists flew, blood often smeared the ice, and the owners thought this was all manly and a great way to sell tickets.

It's also crucial to accept that you cannot really comprehend the Richard Riot unless you lived through and knew the power of the English in Montreal, who many angry French believed to be modern economic descendants of New France's landowners that treated their farmers as serfs before the system was abolished in 1854.

French speaking players in the NHL, almost exclusively the property of the Montreal Canadiens, believed they were more harshly treated by league president Clarence Campbell, especially Richard, when it came time to dish out suspensions and fines.

The Rocket, was so much a part of Quebec society that he transcended even organized religion. Red Storey, a former referee and long-time hockey commentator, once said of him that, in Quebec, "hockey was bigger than the Church, and Rocket Richard was bigger than the Pope."

The NHL was a provincial, parochial six-team affair in 1955, featuring barely over 100 players. Many of them hated each other.
Richard was hockey's greatest player at that time, in 1945 he became the first to score 50 goals in a season. Conn Smythe, owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, offered a million dollars to the Canadiens for him.

Losing a player like Richard would have been a major blow to the Canadien's and it's fans, and that’s what happened during the 1955 NHL season. On March 13th during a game against the Boston Bruins, defenseman Hal Laycoe purposely hit Richard in the head with his stick which resulted in blood gushing down the side of his face.

Richard snapped and began repeatedly slashing at Laycoe’s head and shoulders with his own stick. One hit actually broke the stick in half. When Richard threw down his gloves for a fist fight, linesman Cliff Thompson tried to hold him back.

Thompson’s intervention resulted in two punches to the face from Richard and he was knocked unconscious. Richard was given an instant $100 fine and was banned from the rest of the game. The Boston police tried to arrest Richard for assault, but the other Habs players blocked the dressing room door and Bruins officials told the police to let the NHL officials deal with the situation. Two days later, Richard was suspended by Campbell for the rest of the season, including the playoffs.

Habs fans were absolutely furious. Public outcry poured in and several death threats were issued to Campbell. Yet for some strange reason, Campbell thought it would be a good idea to attend the Habs next game. On the 17th, 6000 protestors arrived at the Montreal Forum while 15,000 surly fans sat inside to watch the match against the Detroit Red Wings. Some carried signs praising Richard and denouncing Campbell.

Things did not turn ugly until the police arrived. At that point, those outside tried to crash the gate. Eggs, tomatoes and garbage were thrown at Campbell. Windows were smashed. Heavy chunks of ice were thrown at streetcars. A man pretended to be a friend of Campbell’s and when Campbell went to go shake the man’s hand, he was slapped and then punched in the face.

After the attacker was dragged away, someone set tear gas off. The Forum was closed by officials, resulting in Montreal having to forfeit the game to Detroit. The angry fans inside joined those outside and they smashed windows, attacked bystanders, set newspaper stands on fire, and turned over cars. Over 50 stores were looted and the general area around the Forum was heavily vandalized. In the end, 12 policemen and 25 civilians were injured, Saint-Catherine Street was a disaster, and damages totaled $100,000 nearly a million dollars today..

"I have often seen Rocket Richard fill the Forum," said Dick Irvin, Jr., later the legendary Montreal play-by-play and colour man, and at that time the son of the team's coach. "But that's the first time I've ever seen him empty it."

Richard and his wife were at the game. The tear gas actually exploded close to where he was. In the chaos, fans didn’t notice their star player making his way around the arena to where his wife was sitting. They slipped out unnoticed. When asked about the riot, he said, “it was terrible, awful. People might have been killed.”

The next day, in an attempt to ease the situation Richard went on television and spoke to his fans:

“Because I always try so hard to win and had my troubles in
Boston, I was suspended. At playoff time it hurts to not be
in the game with the boys. However, I want to do what is
good for the people of Montreal and the team. So that no
further harm will be done, I would like to ask everyone to
get behind the team and to help the boys win from the New
York Rangers and Detroit. I will take my punishment and
come back next year to help the club and the younger
players to win the Cup.”

Richard was successful in preventing any further destruction, however the Habs ended up losing to the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup playoffs that year.

After the riot, the NHL began to crack down on all-out brawls, though it would take another 25 years for the changes to take effect with the institution of the third-man-in rule.

And the Rocket, who always refused to align himself with a political party, would lead his teammates to five straight Stanley Cup victories until retiring in the spring of 1960 with 544 regular-season goals to his credit.

Sixty years later, much like the player at the heart of the incident, the riot has taken on mythical status in sports history. Like Richard, the riot has been attached to the ongoing tension between English and French Canadians and the event is often considered a precursor to Quebec’s Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. Furthermore, the riot is the main factor that transformed Richard from a sports figure to a political symbol. Richard never saw himself as a revolutionary figure however; he dismissed himself as a catalyst for change. He saw himself as just another hockey player.

Richard fulfilled his promise to Canadiens' fans as he led Montreal to a Stanley Cup championship in 1955–56. The season began with the arrival of his young brother Henri to the Canadiens roster It also marked the return of his former Punch line teammate, Toe Blake, as head coach. Along with general manager Frank Selke, Blake worked with Richard on moderating his temper and responding to the provocation of his opponents by scoring goals rather than engaging in fisticuffs. Richard finished the season with 38 goals and 71 points, second on the team in both respects to Jean Béliveau's 47 goals and 88 points. Richard added 14 points in 10 playoff games as Montreal defeated Detroit to claim the Stanley Cup. He scored the second and ultimately Cup-clinching goal in the fifth and final game, a 3–1 victory.

Entering his 15th NHL season in 1956–57, Richard's teammates named him captain of the Canadiens, succeeding Émile Bouchard, who had retired prior to the season. With 33 goals and 62 points, Richard again finished second on the team to Béliveau. In the playoffs, he scored the overtime-winning goal in the fifth game of the semi-final to eliminate New York, then scored four goals in a 5–1 victory over Boston in the first game of the final en route to a five-game series win and second consecutive championship for Montreal.

Richard reached a major scoring milestone early in the 1957–58 season. During the first period of a 3–1 victory over Chicago on October 19, 1957, he became the first player in NHL history to score 500 goals in his career. As Richard celebrated with his teammates, it was announced to the Montreal Forum crowd: "Canadiens' goal, scored by Mr. Hockey himself, Maurice Richard".

He played only 28 regular season games that season, scoring 34 points, as he missed three months due to a severed Achilles tendon. Returning in time for the playoffs, Richard led Montreal with 11 goals and 15 points as the team won its third consecutive Stanley Cup. He scored the overtime-winning goal in the fifth game of the final against Boston. It was the sixth playoff overtime-winning goal of his career, and the third during the finals, both NHL records.

At 37, Richard was the oldest player in the NHL in 1958–59. He scored 38 points in 42 games, but missed six weeks due to a broken ankle. Injuries again plagued Richard during the 1959–60 season as he missed a month due to a broken cheekbone. Montreal nonetheless won the Stanley Cup in both seasons. Richard scored no points in four games in the 1959 Stanley Cup Final, but recorded a goal and three assists in 1960. The titles were the seventh and eighth of Richard's career, and Montreal's five consecutive championships remain a record. The 1956–60 Canadiens rank as one of eight dynasties recognized by the NHL.

The playoff goal was Richard's last, as on September 15, 1960, he announced his retirement as a player. Richard had reported to Montreal's training camp that autumn, but Selke compelled Richard to end his playing career, fearing he was risking serious injury. In Richard's retirement speech, he said he had been contemplating leaving the game for two years, and stated that at age 39, the game had become too fast for him. Upon learning of Richard's retirement, Gordie Howe offered praise for his former rival: "He sure was a drawing card. He brought in the crowds that helped pay our wages. Richard certainly has been one of the greatest players in the game and we will miss him."

Richard was still an active player when Howe surpassed his career record for points. Howe broke Richard's career mark of 544 goals in 1963, while the Rocket's record of 50 goals in one season stood for 20 years until broken by Bobby Hull in 1965.

A trophy featuring a brass colored statuette of Richard atop a wood base with metal plates bearing the inscription of the trophy's winners. The Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy was donated to the NHL by the Montreal Canadiens and is presented annually to the leading goal scorer in the NHL.

Richard is one of the greatest and most successful players of all time. He played on eight Stanley Cup championship teams and was the captain on four of those teams and scored six postseason overtime winners.

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06.08.2017 at 12:07 pmLike
Erin Diesing Schollaert Great read about growing up playing hockey.Erin Diesing Schollaert shared a link to the group: Dignity After Hockey.18.08.2017 at 09:23 pmLike
Sally Rooff And Part 3. Check it out!!Sally Rooff shared a link to the group: Dignity After Hockey.16.08.2017 at 07:20 pmLike