The Question: Is Maurice (Rocket) Richard really the greatest hockey player of all time?

April 02, 1956

GLEN GILBERT
Montreal
Editorial director
Weekend Magazine
"No. Jean Beliveau is the greatest I've ever seen. He is bigger and he has everything. Furthermore, he is a student of hockey and all its fine points. Everyone acknowledges Richard as a greater scorer, but Jean controls his play better and he is a greater all-round player."

JACK ADAMS
Detroit
General manager
Detroit Red Wings
"Definitely not. He is colorful and undoubtedly one of hockey's greatest scorers. But to term him the greatest as against Gordie Howe, Eddie Shore and Howie Morenz is to overlook defense and passing skills and team spirit. The ability to score is most important, but it isn't all important."

CONN SMYTHE
Toronto
Owner
Toronto Hockey Club
"Yes. For color and robust hockey he compares with Reardon, Shore and Horner. For speed and spectacular plays, he is like Morenz and Apps. For scoring plays, he has a little on Nels Stewart and Bill Cook. You might say that only a two-way player like Ted Kennedy was greater."

FRANK BOUCHER
Brandon, Man.
General manager
Brandon Regals
"He ranks with the greatest in hockey. As a scorer, from the blue line to the net, he is in a class by himself: As a popular player he's also on a par with the late Howie Morenz. However, I nominate Bill Cook, my old teammate, as the greatest all-round player of all time."

JIM VIPOND
Toronto
Sports editor
Toronto Globe & Mail
"The Rocket is a great, colorful player, but isn't the greatest. I rate the incomparable Howie Morenz ahead of Richard, and Gordie Howe of Detroit is a better two-way player. The Rocket is more sparkling than Howe, but Gordie is as good around the goal and better defensively."

GENERAL JOHN REED KILPATRICK
New York
President
Mad. Sq. Garden
"Yes. Richard has established great records over a long period of time and still stands in the front rank of hockey. None of the old-timers could touch him. Gordon Howe and the Rocket's teammate, Beliveau, are the only active players who can be compared to him."

LESTER CANTON
New York
Vice-president
Crouch & Fitzgerald
"The Rocket is unquestionablythegreatest goal-getter. That's what they pay off on. You might call him the Babe Ruth of hockey. Like Babe, he is controversial, colorful and the greatest crowd-pleaser of all time. Also, like the Babe in baseball, the Rocket has made the greatest impact on hockey."

PHILIP SCHREIBER
Detroit
Attorney
"No, but he is the greatest scorer of all time. Sure, goals win games. That's why some fans call him the greatest of all time. I think Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings is greater than Richard. He is the reason why the Red Wings have dominated the National Hockey League for years."

MUZZ PATRICK
New York
General manager
New York Rangers
"When you think of Bill Cook, formerly of the Rangers, Gordon Howe of the Red Wings and Jean Beliveau, it's hard to say one is the greatest. But the Rocket is awfully close to it. No one will argue with me when I say he is the most entertaining, exciting and explosive player of all time."

MILT DUNNELL
Toronto
Sports editor
Toronto Star
"Any comparison of athletes, past and present is difficult, due to changing conditions. However, no hockey addict can argue that the game is now played at a faster tempo than ever before. In assessing Richard the Rocket, I have to be guided by what I see on ice, what I see in the record books and what I have seen in the past. The Rocket has scored more goals than any player in the history of the game. He has scored more goals in one season. He holds the record for the playoffs. Richard has been in big league hockey since 1942 and has played equally well with various line combinations. Until someone else does as many things, over as great a span, I would have to call Richard the greatest."

CLARENCE CAMPBELL
Montreal
President
Nat'l. Hockey League
"It may be unreasonable to select one player and declare him to be "the greatest player of all time," and I am not one of those few who have seen all the greats. But no other man has staked such a claim to that rating as Richard. I've never had as many thrills watching any other player."

TED SAUCIER
New York
Publicist
"No. I think I know hockey and the stars who have played it throughout the years. I was the first lessee for hockey at Madison Square Garden, before the Rangers. I've seen all the great stars. I think the greatest of them all, the one with the greatest potential, is Jean Beliveau of the Canadiens."

THIRTEEN PHOTOS

NEXT WEEK:

Who is the ballplayer on your team to watch this year? (Asked of the major league team broadcasters.)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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Eagle (-2)
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