When Andre Pronovost came out of junior hockey to join the Montreal Canadiens in 1956, the team had just started their record-setting string of league championships. Stocked with veteran talent like Rocket Richard and Elmer Lach, the club had recently initiated a youth movement that brought Jacques Plante, Dickie Moore, and Claude Provost into the mix. Pronovost joined the club shortly thereafter, teaming up with Provost and Phil Goyette to form the club's third-line defensive unit.
Over the course of the next four seasons, Pronovost and the Canadiens won four straight Stanley Cups. The team was poised to make it five in a row when he got the shock of his life: he'd just been shoved into a free-fall from the pinnacle of the league to the basement-dwelling Boston Bruins in 1960. The impact of the trade brought thoughts of retirement and the possibility of returning to school. But Bruins' coach Lynn Patrick convinced Pronovost to give Boston a go.
His Beantown excursion lasted about two years at which time he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings, a club in the hunt for the Stanley Cup. By then, as a veteran, Pronovost decided to revisit the issue of a salary increase, a concern he'd first raised with the Canadiens. As a new recruit, Montreal's GM Frank Selke assured Pronovost that he'd receive an increase in pay only after he'd gained some experience in the league. With that experience then firmly under his belt, he approached the Wings' management for his payoff. But for all of his trials, he received nothing more than a stern warning that there were always two younger players around who could be had for the same price.
Pronovost bit his tongue and continued to perform his defensive duties for the Wings as they came within a hair's breadth of winning the Stanley Cup in 1964. The following season, he was sent to the minors where, other than during a 16-game run with the Minnesota North Stars in 1968, he embarked on a lengthy minor-league career with stops in Pittsburgh, Memphis, Phoenix, Baltimore, Muskegon, and New Jersey. He finally retired from hockey at age 35 in 1971.