Claude McIntosh - Mac's Musings

Cornwall judge Michael Fitzpatrick was thrust into the national spotlight on April 1970 when he was hand-picked by the province to hear an historic assault case involving two National Hockey League combatants.

Both players involved in a September 1969 bloody stick-swinging duel, Ted Green of the Boston Bruins and Wayne Maki of the St. Louis Blues, were, oddly enough, charged with assault (on each other) by Ottawa police. It was a pre-season game in Capital.

It was the first time an assault charge was laid for an on-ice fight in an NHL game. The charges and trial’s possible outcome (guilty) gave the movers and shakers in the league head office in Montreal’s Sun Life Building a bad case of the jitters. Brawling was so entrenched in the game, a paddy wagon would be on standby at every game if the law got involved.

It started when Green, who had a nasty streak, slashed Maki across the chest. The St. Louis forward retaliated with a vicious chop that struck the helmet-less Green across the side of his head. He went down, as the saying goes, like a ton of bricks.

Somehow, Maki was spared as the Bruins, led by an enraged Bobby Orr, tried to get at Maki who was escorted safely to the dressing room.

At the Civic Hospital a priest was rushed to the emergency room to give the badly injured Green the last rites. He survived a delicate three-hour brain operation that inserted a steel plate in his fractured skull.

The trial ended with both players acquitted of the charges.

There was a huge sigh of relief in NHL headquarters.

“He never discussed the case with us,” said the judge’s son, Paul, retired Cornwall CAO. “He never brought his work home.”

A few months after the trial Judge Fitzpatrick was at a Montreal Canadiens’ game with some friends. By chance, he met up with one of the lawyers involved with the trial who knew NHL president Clarence Campbell, who, as was his habit, in attendance at the old Forum.

In the day, there were no executive boxes to separate the haves from the have-nots. So, the most powerful man in the NHL sat among the unwashed.

“The lawyer asked my father if he wanted to meet Clarence Campbell,” said Paul. “Campbell shook my father’s hand and thanked him for what he did for the game. My father said he did it for the law, not the game.”

The NHL handed both players lengthy suspensions.

Green – who earned the nickname “Terrible Ted” – was never the same player and struggled on the ice. He died at age 79 in October 1979.

Two years after the incident Maki was diagnosed with brain cancer. He died in May 1974. He was 29.

The silence from the Bruins, who never forgave Maki, was deafening.

IT HAPPENED IN 1970 – Canadian Pacific purchased the Cornwall Street Railway freight switching business which serviced 25 businesses. … Cornwall Storage and Warehousing leased all the available vacant buildings at Courtaulds. … A farm east of Cornwall was contracted by the province to serve as a youth detention home. It replaced a former home near Martintown that was shut down. … Veteran city police officers Roger Pilon and Ralph Irving were promoted to the detective branch. … City merchants were invited to enrol in the new Chargex credit card system. … The popular July International Seaway Bathtub Derby announced that the event – sponsored by The Standard-Freeholder, CJSS and CFML — would feature a 50-mile marathon race starting in Brockville. And, 2,000 derby bumper stickers were printed. … A Cornwall man facing his fourth conviction of being drunk in a public place asked for four months in the slammer, instead the judge handed him a more lenient two-month sentence. … The new Cornwall General Hospital wing opened. … Bill Dickie’s rink – Bob Scranton, Don Lebano and Larry Hussey – won the “B” side of the Lord Elgin Cup play in Montreal. … Faced with a $240,000 operation deficit, Cornwall Street Railway announced that it was reducing Saturday service and eliminating Sunday service. Even with that, the transit side of the company, owned by Sun Life, expected to lose $100,000. The changes saw 10 drivers lose their jobs. … NHL scouts pegged Reggie Leach of Flin Flon Bombers of the Western Junior Hockey League and Gilles Perrault of Montreal Junior Canadiens as the top two prospects in the June draft.

THIS AND THAT Trump was blamed for the steady flow of asylum seekers fleeing into Canada. But since he was tossed from office, the number of illegals/irregulars has skyrockets. … The little rocket man running North Korea has to know that if he heaves a nuclear missile at the west coast of the United States his country will become the world’s biggest parking lot. … Bravest guy in the city might be the person in a motorized wheelchair who was driving against traffic on busy Ninth Street between Pitt and Cumberland. … The biggest threat to the United States isn’t V. Putin, the little guy in North Korea or the head honcho in China. It is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her followers who worship at the conspiracy altar.

TRIVIA Nick Kaneb was elected mayor in the Dec. 5. 1960 municipal election. The ballot included a referendum: 1) Extending the Cornwall Electric contract to supply the city with power, 2) A one-way street system, 3) Showing of Sunday movies in the city, 4) Introduction of fluoride into city water system, 5) Extending city council terms to three years from two.

TRIVIA ANSWER The first International Seaway Bathtub Derby on July 6, 1969 attracted a crowd of 30,000. It ran until 1972 when the canal was filled in. There was an attempt to revive it in 2010 in remaining part of the canal but didn’t return for a second season.

QUOTED “You can never make the same mistake twice because the second time you make it, it’s not a mistake, it’s a choice.” – Steve Denn

ONE FINAL THING The MacPhee Group – a baker’s dozen of 1960s era Cornwall high schoolers (CCVS and SLHS) – will have an empty chair at its next impromptu dinner get together. Jim MacPhee, all round good guy after whom the group was named, passed away last week.

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