The Big M-nity: The Black Hawks lost the first two games of the 1962 Stanley Cup Finals, away, in Toronto, and so they returned home to the Chicago Stadium on April 15 hoping to turned the series around. Heading into the game — hoping, I guess, to aid in the effort — a vehement Chicago fan carried a pre-noosed effigy of Maple Leafs’ winger Frank Mahovlich to the rink for the purpose of decorating the Stadium’s top balcony. Attendants confiscated it before that happened: here, above, chief Stadium usher Lester Modesti gives Johnny Gottselig (left) a look, the one-time Black Hawk star who was the team’s Director of Public Relations. Is it possible that Modesti was concerned not so much by the effigy itself and its murderous implication as by the bulk of the thing? A Chicago paper only mentioned that he was afraid that “in the excitement” of the action on the ice, its perpetrators might “‘accidentally drop’ it overboard.”
Chicago did win the night, 3-0, in front of a crowd of 16,666 standing what The Chicago Tribune called “delirious witness.” If they didn’t have a facsimile Mahovlich to toss, local partisans did make up for the lack by flinging to the ice “21 hats, two rubber boots, three rolls of toilet paper, confetti, silver streamers, and programs.” Unintimidated, the Leafs eventually prevailed in the series, winning the Cup in six games. It was their first since 1951.