Thursday, December 16, 2010

Political Maneuvering

For most sports fans there is no greater excitement than attending a game as opposed to watching on TV. The atmosphere and build-up contributing to making the experience enjoyable.

In most sports, contests usually proceed as scheduled. Occasionally, baseball suffers from a rain out, but the game is made-up by playing a doubleheader. A majority of weather related cancellations can be rescheduled to accommodate participants and spectators.

Of course, there is always the exception to the rule. In Minnesota this week, the inflatable roof at the Metrodome suffered major damage. Due to 43 cm of snow, 3 panels collapsed rendering the building unsafe for use. The NFL game between the Vikings and New York Giants was delayed one day, and moved to Ford Field in Detroit.

In hockey, there are several factors which have lead to games being cancelled or halted while in progress. A power outage, severe weather conditions, or a national disaster/emergency are three examples. On November 1, 1960 a new circumstance was tossed into the mix. The Blackhawks were scheduled to host the New York Rangers at Chicago Stadium, but no hockey was played that evening in the Windy City.

Chicago Stadium
With a Presidential election only days away, the local political bosses of the Democratic Party had other plans for the fine people of Chicago. On the same night of the hockey game, a political rally was being held for Texas democrat Lyndon B. Johnson in Chicago. Johnson was the running mate of Presidential hopeful John F. Kennedy.

Bowing to political pressure, the National Hockey League cancelled the game and rescheduled it for the next evening. The Hawks and Rangers battled to a 4-4 draw. Chicago scored twice in the final 9 minutes to even the score. The tie resulted in Chicago gaining the league lead in points over Montreal. Of interest, the fans at Chicago Stadium witnessed U.S. Olympic goalie Jack McCartan  making his first road appearance in the NHL. He replaced Gump Worsley in the third period, after the Rangers starter suffered a back injury.

As for the election, I guess it can be said that the NHL made a small contribution to the dawn of a new era in politics known as Camelot.

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