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Grand moments

March 17th, 1955
THE RICHARD RIOT
On March 17, 1955, a game between the Canadiens and the Detroit Red Wings explodes off the ice.  Thousands of Habs fans flock to the Forum to protest National Hockey League president, Clarence Campbell’s decision to suspend Maurice Richard.

A few days earlier, on March 13, the Canadiens and the Boston Bruins compete in a heated battle on the ice.  At the 15:11 mark ofthe third period, Hal Laycoe strikes Richard in the head with his stick.  While trying to break up the ensuing fight, linesman Cliff Thompson takes a punch to the face courtesy of Richard, and begins to bleed profusely from his eye.  In response to the incident, Richard is subsequently suspended for the remaining three games of the regular season and for the entire postseason, while Laycoe, the instigator of the melee, went unpunished.

The sentiment of injustice permeating through the incensed Montreal fans reaches its peak when Campbell arrives at the Forum for the following game.  A tear gas bomb explodes, forcing the evacuation of the Forum and causing the riotous crowd to spill over onto the streets.  The Canadiens are forced to forfeit the game after only one period.

The day after the riot, "The Rocket” goes live on the radio to address the public, successfully appealing to them to maintain order and end the chaos.