Ed Fitkin on NHL tossers, circa March of 1946:
NHL moguls are showing considerable alarm over the increase in fan rowdyism and President Red Dutton is ready to crack the whip over all clubs who allow crowd fanaticism to get out of hand.
All this, of course, deals with the gradual increase in the throwing of bric-a-brac on the ice to show displeasure over a referee’s decision. Chicago Stadium fans have been the worst offenders in this respect for years. Not far behind them are Montreal Forum fanatics. But no one club in the circuit can boast a spotless record in this respect.
Chicago fans are the most inventive — also the most callous. Rotten tomatoes, cauliflowers, silver pennies, whole decks of playing cards, small pieces of metal, and whiskey bottles have been heaved out of the gallery by the Windy City folks. Once, during a Leaf-Red Wing playoff game in Detroit, someone tossed a dead fish onto the ice surface. In Boston recently King Clancy was struck in the face with a package of cough drops. Toronto fans, generally considered well-behaved, have grown more boisterous this season — and programs galore are tossed, to say nothing of bags of peanuts. In New York, fans have taken to throwing eggs.
Bottle-throwing has been the most serious offence at the Forum this year and in the Boston-Canadiens game there last week, play was held up for 10 minutes while attendants cleared the ice of glass.
As a result, Red Dutton notified the Habitant management that a repetition of the bottle-throwing would result in the stoppage of play and the awarding of the game to the visiting club. Dutton added that, “I mean business” and Canadiens co-operated for last Saturday night’s game by scattering special police among the various sections of the Forum with instructions to arrest anyone creating unnecessary disturbances.
Dutton recently invaded Chicago to make a check on the crowd rowdyism there. Aware that he was on hand, the Black Hawk management took no chances. They got Captain Red Hamill to make a pre-game appeal to the fans over the microphone. As a result, the Chicago crowd behaved for the first time this season.