Clarence Campbell

First University of Alberta Law Graduate to become

President of the National Hockey League

Born 1905 – Fleming, Saskatchewan. Died 1984

  • 1924 – Graduated University of Alberta with an degree in Law and Arts
  • Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University where he played for the Oxford University Ice Hockey Club (previous players include former Prime Minister Lester Pearson and former Governor General Roland Michener)
  • Returned to Edmonton and supplemented his income while practising law by refereeing games at the local Canadian Amateur Hockey Assoc. (CAHA). His proficiency caught the Attention of the NHL and by 1936 he was officiating big league contests.
  • He was considered fair but was controversial and after one such call Colin Smythe, owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs was successful in ending Clarence Campbell’s NHL officiating career.
  • 1940 enlisted in the Canadian Army as a Private after war was declared. He quickly rose through the ranks earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by 1945, commanding the 4th Armoured Division
  • After the war he was appointed Queen’s Council and was one of the prosecutors of one of several trial courts of leading Nazis who were put on trial for crimes against humanity
  • Awarded Order of the British Empire (OBE) and made King’s Council
  • 1946 – 1977 Returned to Canada and was soon made 3rd President of the National Hockey League
  • Significantly shaped the NHL: increased the number of games from 60-70, instituted an intra league draft to balance the talent pool. Later oversaw the leagues expansion. The league tripled in size from the time Campbell first took office