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Up Against the Wall
MONTREAL | January 26th, 2014
Up Against the Wall
Whether you’re talking about Michael Jordan and Gatorade, Tiger Woods and Nike or Usain Bolt and Puma, it’s a well known fact that star-athletes and product-endorsement deals go hand in hand. The Montreal Canadiens of the 1950s were no exception to the rule. But as Henri Richard discovered, being the face of a brand doesn’t come without its share of risks… especially when you have friends like Jean-Guy Talbot, Claude Provost and Bernard Geoffrion.

By the end of the 1950s, Richard was cementing his reputation as one of the Habs’ biggest stars of the era. With several companies looking to capitalize on the hype surrounding the young hockey player, a soft-drink company by the name of Kik decided to offer him a sponsorship deal. Every week, a sizable shipment of the beverage would be delivered to No.16’s front door, and Richard, not quite sure what to do with the surplus of product began stockpiling the cases in his garage.

One night while Richard was out, his teammates decided to take advantage of the empty house and have a little fun at their friend’s expense.

“They used the opportunity to pull every last case of Kik out of his garage and – with a little help from a few understanding police officers – began stacking them right in the middle of the street,” recalled Gilles Tremblay, Richard’s teammate of nine seasons.

When Richard finally turned onto his street at two in the morning, he was surprised to find a large, painstakingly stacked, wall of Kik blocking his way.

Not wanting to wake the neighbours and with no one around to help, the future Hall of Famer did the only thing he could. He got out of his car in the middle of the night and began the slow process of moving the soft-drink cases, one-by-one, back into his garage.

While most people would have likely seen red and began plotting revenge, the good-natured “Pocket Rocket” took the prank in stride.

“Believe it or not,” chuckled Tremblay, “According to a few very reliable sources, he spent the rest of the night moving those boxes doubled over and laughing his head off.”

See also
Helmets are a player's best friend
Dude, where's my car?
Flower Power
Tom and Dickie
The Welcome Wagon
A Sticky Situation
The old switcheroo