On July 9th in 1905, Clarence Sutherland Campbell was born in Fleming, Saskatchewan. The Rhodes Scholar lawyer turned NHL referee went on to hold the league's highest post for 31 years (1946-1977) after a sojourn as a lieutenant colonel in WWII and Queen's Counsel prosecuting Nazi crimes against humanity.
Moonlighting as an official in the CAHA while lawyering at an Edmonton firm, Campbell whistled his way to the NHL. He lasted three years, witnessing Howie Morenz's career-ending broken leg and even taking a punch from Bruins' bruiser Dit Clapper, before NHL President Frank Calder stole his stripes on the urging of Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe for an allegedly under-penalized incident that bloodied Red Horner.
Calder kept Campbell in the game, however, hiring him to work in the league office though he left shortly thereafter enlisting in the Canadian Armed Forces. With Calder's passing in 1943 a reluctant Red Dutton presided until Campbell's return upon which the presidency was passed.
Major events that occurred during his tenure as NHL President include:
- Extension of NHL regular season from 50 to 80 games;
- Introduction of NHL All-Star Game (1947);
- Expulsion of players Billy Taylor and Don Gallinger for gambling on NHL games (1948);
- Enactment of NHL Pension Fund (1948);
- Suspension of Maurice Richard for punching a linesman (1955);
- Richard Riot at Montreal Forum (1955);
- Limitation of one goal per minor penalty power play (1956);
- Placement of Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto (1958);
- Implementation of NHL Amateur Draft (1963);
- NHL Expansion from 6 to 18 teams (1967-1976);
- Realignment to two conferences and four divisions (1974);
- Renaming of conferences and divisions (1974);
- NHL Relocation of two teams (1976); and
- Protection from rival league WHA (1972-1977).
That's today in NHL history.