Note: Odd technical glitch today. Some of you are saying that today’s main entry disappeared, although it’s been quite visible all along for me. I’ve reposted it, which means some of you may be seeing it twice. If so, please add comments only to this version, not the original one. Thanks.
Now then: Got a note recently from Jonathan Wall, the Manager of Scouting & Player Information for the Canucks. “I was at a dinner the other night here in Vancouver and a great hockey book was given out as a gift,” he wrote. “Once I opened it, I realized you had to have it, as it was full of amazing historical pictures, many depicting jerseys and versions of jerseys that I had never seen before.”
The book, which Jonathan was kind enough to forward to me, is Michael McKinley’s Etched in Ice, which was published back in 1998. As Jonthan promised, it’s packed with great old photos, many of which are uni-notable. Here’s a sampling:
• This is an early Montreal Canadiens sweater, circa 1911-15. It’s not clear to me what the “A” stood for, or who the other team was. Anyone know?
• Meet the 1915 Vancouver Millionaires. Is that an all-time great sweater design or what?
• Here’s the most interesting photo in the book. The obvious point of interest is the crude helmet and mask being worn by the player in the center, but a more subtle detail can be found on the player with his back to us: His pants have a back pocket! I might not have noticed this myself if Jonathan hadn’t pointed it out to me. “I’ve never seen or even heard of this,” he says. “After asking around, an alumni member [at the dinner] mentioned that a lot of the pants in that day had pockets, but he didn’t know why.” Anyone..?
• This is the Canadian goalie during the 1936 Olympics. The game was played outdoors, so he’s wearing sunglasses. Not sure if his headwear is a standard cap/visor or if it’s one of those transparent tinted visors, although I’d like to think it was the latter, just because that would be so damn cool.
• Really love the uni number treatment on the Russian goalie in this 1957 shot.
• Here’s something you don’t often see: a captain’s “C” in a diamond patch.
• Speaking of diamonds, you’ve gotta love this Quebec Aces sweater.
• Here’s the Jarvis Collegiate team, circa 1912 with a young Conn Smythe seated at lower-right. As you can see, it appears that most of the players have tragedy and/or comedy patches sewn onto their sweaters. Anyone know why? Also: Love the little bulge/serif in the center of each “J” — subtle but hugely effective.
• The book has an entire chapter devoted to women’s hockey. I like this shot of the Preston Rivulettes — note that some of the sweaters had Johnny collars, while the others just had V-necks. Then there were the Buffalo Snow Birds, who according to the caption “brave[d] a 1920s winter to play a little bathing-suit shinny.” Yikes.
• No women in this photo. According to the caption: “In 1902 the North-West Mounted Police, responsible for keeping the peace in the often riotous Yukon, blew off steam by dressing as women for a ‘drag’ game in Whitehorse.” Double-yikes.
• Here’s a young Bobby Orr wearing an Oshawa Generals jersey.
• And we can add Terry Sawchuk — getting chummy here with Johnny Bower — to our list of smoking athletes.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Here’s a Barack Obama photo I hadn’t seen before, from his high school basketball days. Dig those belted shorts! … Nicole Haase just forwarded me this superb article about the dwindling state of the U.S. sock industry and, specifically, about Wigwam, a Wisconsin-based sock brand that plans to keep its operations in America (and which also happens to be my preferred brand of striped tube socks — you can buy their product here). … “The recent feature on pin-up girls wearing hockey jerseys reminds me of the strip joint Club Supersexe in Montreal, where the dancers — when they’re not onstage — walk around in their G-strings and NHL replica tops,” writes John F.J. Sullivan. “When I was there a number of years ago, one of the women had a Minnesota North Stars top on — and this was long after the team had moved. I guess the classics never go out of style.” … Look, it’s Zorro! (Thanks, Vince.) … A UK newspaper just ran one of those 10 worst-ever soccer uniforms articles (with thanks to Kevin Forrest). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Great photographic retrospective of Converse sneakers here. … Remember how Larry “Mr. Diplomacy” Bowa was refusing to wear a helmet on the coaching lines and invited MLB to fine him every single game? Turns out MLB had a good rejoinder: Wear the fucking helmet already or you’ll be ejected. Bowa has now agreed to comply and, as usual, he’s being a real ray of sunshine about it. … Still more info on the coaches’ helmets (including news that the manufacturers are trying to develop a coach-specific model) here.