Baz O’Meara from the Montreal Star was on location at the Chicago Stadium on that Tuesday night in late March of 1961 when the Montreal Canadiens barged in on the Chicago Black Hawks for the fourth game of their Stanley Cup semi-final. “The crowd tossed a lot of paper cups on the ice,” he wrote, “and they littered the surface with paper darts and pieces of torn programs. They love rough hockey and they reveled in the fight featuring Bonin and Vasko, but there were no fights in the stand as last year when it took four or five policemen and ushers to quell tow quarrelsome customers.”
That’s the scene here, viewed from on high: somewhere beneath that knot of irked players is the first-period fracas between Montreal winger Marcel Bonin and Chicago defenceman Moose Vasko. Identifiable Canadiens are (#14) Claude Provost and (#3) J.C. Tremblay and for Chicago (#10) Ron Murphy and, viewing from afar, goaltender (#1) Glenn Hall. Jacques Plante is another distant spectator.
After much punching, grappling, and (as the Star’s Red Fisher wrote) “some expert shoving,” referee Eddie Powers sanctioned Bonin with a five-minute fighting major and two 10-minute misconducts. Vasko got five for his fighting and just a single misconduct. Bonin’s additional misconduct was for grabbing Powers’ shirt. Each of the misconducts came with a $25 fine.
Montreal won the night, going on to a 5-2 win that tied the series at two games apiece. It was Chicago, though, who won the next two games to take the semi-final, and the Black Hawks would continue on to beat the Detroit Red Wings to take the Stanley Cup that year.
(Image: © Chicago Sun-Times Media, ST-17500275-E1, Chicago Sun-Times collection, Chicago History Museum)