Thursday, September 27, 2012

Summit Series '72, Josef Kompalla in his own words

In between Game 7 and Game 8 of the Summit Series there was great furor over the choices of referees for the final match. Team Canada was adamant that the two West Germans Josef Kompalla and Franz Baader not be allowed to work. Joe Kryczka, president of Hockey Canada demanded Uve Dahlberg of Sweden and Czech, Rudy Batja.

As much as Team Canada disliked Kompalla (Sinden called his work incompetent), he himself was far from flattering toward the Canadians. Dan Proudfoot of the Globe and Mail wrote about Kompalla the day before the final match;

Josef Kompalla doesn't think much of Team Canada, either. He dislikes our players' manners. "They make a lot of noise about one faceoff, whether it should be a few feet away. They're very childish. They come and swear at us and call us blinkety-blank German referees who don't know anything. They're all bad. Ratelle is a very good and disciplined player, and the blonde defenceman No. 3 (Stapleton) also is very good."
Kompalla believes that Canada would be better represented by New York Rangers or Boston Bruins. "The Canadian team is no team at all. They've spent four weeks together. The Russians have been getting together for four years. The Canadian players are hot shots, but Phil Esposito cannot play 60 minutes. The Canadians need 10 or 15 games to be in top condition. I do think they could win if they were in top condition."
Kompalla referees about 75 games a year, "But do you know how much I get at home in Germany for a First Division game? Fifteen dollars. Imagine how much the NHL referees make. For me, this refereeing is just a hobby. My job is as a manager of a discotheque. We're open from 5p.m. to 3a.m. I show people to their tables, you know."
He professed to not worry about Team Canada criticism. "I let it go in one ear, and out the other."

The man most disappointed with Kompalla's preformance is Scotty Morrison, NHL referee-in-chief. Morrison had all the referees of the series visit Toronto during the Team Canada training camp, so that he could conduct officiating seminars. "I was especially disappointed with Kompalla because he impressed me," said Morrison. "I didn't expect much from Baader, but I liked Kompalla. "But it looks now like the entire clinic was a waste of time."

Of course, in the end Kompalla did indeed officiate Game 8 and Canada managed to survive his incompetence. Kompalla then presumably returned to his job at the discotheque.

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