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Madison Square Garden
Why NHL Goal Judges Sit In A Booth

During an interview with 101 Fascinating Hockey Facts author Brian McFarlane, New York Rangers manager Emile Francis recalled a classic hockey moment from a game on November 22, 1964:

"We're leading Gordie Howe and the Red Wings 2-1 with time running out when Norm Ullman of the Wings takes a quick shot and play carries on. Then the ref suddenly blows his whistle and talks to Reichert, the goal judge. Then he gives Detroit a goal. What the hell!


"I'm so mad I take off around the rink and I get to the goal judge, who was sitting on a stool, and I start giving him a blast. But there were three firemen close by, drinking beer and yelling at me to screw off. So when one of them made a move toward me, I nailed him with a punch and knocked him right over the seats. That triggered a brawl, and all the Rangers on the ice see this and they race down ... to help me. Right up over the high glass they go — one, two, three.

"After a long skirmish, my new suit was in shreds and I had cuts under both eyes.

"The next day, I was told the firemen were suing me for a million dollars! "Well, it took seven years before the case went to court in Brooklyn, and when the jury walked in right in front of me, one juror put his hand out and said, 'Good luck, Coach.'

"'Mistrial!' the judge shouted.

"Yeah, the judge declared a mistrial. But we were back two years later, and this time there was a different judge and jury and the firemen were awarded $100,000.

"And get this. One of them asked me for my autograph when the trial was over.

"So I'm the guy who caused the league to put the goal judge in a booth from then on so nobody could get to him."

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