Hockey Hall of Fame Book of Jerseys is a celebration of the Hockey Hall of Fame's collection of the best jerseys and sweaters worn by the premier players of the game.
The brand-new, never-before-seen photographs of each jersey are paired with in-game action images and player profiles detailing the significance of the jersey and the impact of the player on the league.
The selection of more than 100 jerseys from star players ranges from the rare and seldom seen, like Hall of Famer Rod Langway's high school championship jersey, to the most famous of garments, like the No. 9 of Montreal Canadiens' star Maurice the Rocket Richard.
Hockey fans will be thrilled with this collection and will enjoy the crests, patches, logos, colors, and designs not to mention the game-worn wear-and-tear of hockey's most distinguishing feature. As an addition to the jerseys of hockey's superstars, readers will be treated to a selection of some of the most unique and rare jerseys from around the hockey world, like Bob Gainey's Epinal Squirrels jersey from the France pro league, or the 1939 Cambridge University Ice Hockey Club sweater worn by captain Geoffrey Hallowes.
A few of the players and jerseys featured are:
- Ray Bourque: 2001 Colorado Avalanche Stanley Cup
- Mario Lemieux: 1987 Canada Cup
- Frank Nighbor: 1921 Ottawa Senators Stanley Cup
- Mark Messier: 1990 Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup
- Valeri Kharlamov: 1980s CSKA Red Army
- Doug Gilmour: 1993 Toronto Maple Leafs
- Busher Jackson: 1940 New York Americans
- Clint Benedict: 1931 Windsor Bulldogs
- Bobby Hull: 1969 Chicago Black Hawks.
Hockey Hall of Fame Book of Jerseys is a fantastic examination of hockey's most enduing symbol and is the only book on the subject.
About the Author
Steve Milton is a 30-year veteran writer and author of more than 20 sports books.
Read an Excerpt
HOCKEY HALL of FAME BOOK of JERSEYS
By STEVE MILTON
Firefly BooksCopyright © 2012 Firefly Books Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMaurice Richard
HE STARTED OUT WITH a different number and a different nickname than the ones he immortalized, but his eyes never, ever changed.
Even in his final seasons you could see the fire in his eyes: a flame that intensified as he approached the net.
"It was terrifying," goalie Glenn Hall has often said about the sight of Maurice "Rocket" Richard furiously bearing down on the net.
The Rocket's original nickname in the Montreal French press was "Le Comet," but it lacked staying power. When Montreal Canadiens' center Ray Getliffe remarked that Richard "went in like a rocket" toward the goal, a sports writer — the Montreal Star's Baz O'Meara and the Montreal Gazette's Dink Carroll are usually given credit — took that observation and made the nickname Richard's forever.
The Canadiens' Jacques Plante said it was the best moniker ever hung on an athlete, and not only because of the way Richard "would turn on the rockets" once he hit the blue line. Plante, who was the goalie when the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup in each of Richard's last five seasons, liked to quote "The Star-Spangled Banner" line -"the rocket's red glare" — in reference to Richard's burning eyes.
Richard, followed by Gordie Howe, made No. 9 the most important sweater number in hockey for at least two generations. But Richard started with No. 15 as a Canadiens rookie in 1942-43, and asked for the new number the next season because his first child, daughter Huguette, was born weighing exactly nine pounds. He scored 32 goals that season and another 12 in nine playoff games to lead the Canadiens to their first Stanley Cup in 13 years.
But it was between 1943–44 and 1944–45 that the legend of the Rocket really began to take root. In the opening round of the 1943–44 playoffs he scored all five Montreal goals in a Game 2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs. And it was that season that he joined with Hector "Toe" Blake and Elmer Lach to form the legendary Punch Line. The trio became the NHL's most formidable unit, combining for a then record 220 points in 1944–45. On December 28, 1944, Richard again had five goals (as well as three assists) in an evening game against the Detroit Red Wings despite being exhausted from moving his young family into a new home that day. Come the end of that 1944–45 season, Richard became the first NHL player to score 50 goals in a season, doing it in 50 games. Today, scoring 50 goals in the first 50 games of a season is the benchmark for superlative scoring prowess in the NHL.
Richard prevailed over several serious injuries, and his determination and tenacity allowed him to become the first NHLer to reach the 500-goal plateau. He played with anger and muscle, and his temper led him to strike an official, which in turn led to the famous 1955 suspension that cost him the chance at his only scoring title and barred him from playing throughout the entire playoffs. The suspension precipitated the infamous St. Patrick's Day riots, and Richard himself had to release a public plea to angered fans to stop rioting. His battles with league president Clarence Campbell are often cited as the true seeds of Quebec's Quiet Revolution. He was so important to Quebec history and culture that at the official closing of the Montreal Forum in 1996, the crowd chanted his name for 16 emotional minutes; his state funeral in May 2000 was the first ever accorded to a Canadian athlete.
FOR DECADES IT HAS BEEN the ideal blueprint: Build from within, then trade to complete assembly. But it has rarely been followed as perfectly as it was by the Big Bad Boston Bruins.
Of course — no matter how solid the foundation or good the construction — rarely do teams come away with as solid a one-two combination as Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito.
Orr arrived in Boston via the classic scouting and development intrigue that prevailed before the 1967 NHL expansion, and Esposito came to The Hub in one of the most lopsided trades in league history.
Esposito, who had already registered three 20-goal campaigns in his first four NHL seasons, was traded to Boston from the Chicago Black Hawks on May 15, 1967, along with Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield, for Hubert "Pit" Martin, Jack Norris and Gilles Marotte. Hodge and Esposito would join with Bruins incumbent Wayne Cashman to form the dominant line of the first half of the 1970s.
Orr had been discovered in Parry Sound, Ontario, and to curry favor with him, the Bruins sponsored Orr's minor hockey team. In 1962, at the age of 14, Orr signed on with the Bruins organization and the club allowed him to commute to play games with the Ontario Hockey League's Oshawa Generals without ever practicing with the team. The Bruins then bought the Generals, even though they already owned a team in the same league in Niagara Falls.
Heading into the 1967–68 season, the first year Orr and Esposito joined forces, the Bruins had missed the playoffs eight years in a row, hadn't won the Stanley Cup since 1941 and, in a six-team league, had won only six NHL individual trophies over a 25-year span: two Lady Byng Trophies, two Calder Trophies and two Hart Trophies.
But by the end of 1974–75, the duo's last full season together, the Bruins of the Orr-Esposito era had amassed five Hart Memorial Trophies (three by Orr, two by Esposito), seven Art Ross Trophies (five by Esposito, two by Orr), eight James Norris Memorial Trophies (Orr), two Conn Smythe Trophies (Orr), a Calder Memorial Trophy (Orr), a Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Johnny Bucyk) and two Stanley Cups.
Among hockey's most recognizable photos is the 1970 photograph of Orr in mid-flight after being tripped by St. Louis Blues defenseman Noel Picard just after scoring the overtime goal that gave the Bruins their first Stanley Cup in 39 years. It inspired the bronze statue now outside the Bruins' home arena. Earlier that year Orr became the first defenseman to lead the NHL in scoring and the first player at any position to record 100 assists in one season.
The Bruins' second Stanley Cup came in 1972 when Esposito and Orr finished 1–2 in scoring, while Orr won the Hart, Norris and Smythe Trophies and scored his second Stanley Cup–winning goal. In September that year, Esposito was the unchallenged spokesman and spiritual leader of Team Canada in the Summit Series.
In the season between those two championships, Ken Dryden's Montreal Canadiens upset the Bruins, but Esposito became the first NHLer to record 150 points and shattered the single-season goalscoring record of 58 when he registered 76 tallies. Orr also established a new league record with his plus-124 rating and he set the points record for defensemen with 139.
Esposito established the template for the big center who owned the slot, while Orr's fleet end-to-end rushes, passing eye and puck-possession skills, all from the blue line, changed the game forever.
And together, they changed the destiny of the Boston Bruins.
EVEN THE TALLEST TREE in the forest was once a sapling. Wayne Gretzky — who grew into "The Great One," established 61 separate NHL records, won eight straight Hart Memorial Trophies and put the game on his back and carried it into several sun-belt markets — had to start somewhere. And that somewhere was the Brantford Minor Hockey Association.
When Gretzky started playing organized hockey as a 6-year-old in 1967 he was four years younger than many of his teammates and opponents because the atom level (typically for kids 10 years of age) was the lowest age classification in Brantford hockey. The standard-issue atom sweater was far too big for a player Gretzky's age, so to gain greater freedom of movement he began tucking the right side of his sweater into his hockey pants. It was a habit he maintained throughout his extraordinary 20-year career in the NHL and it became one of the enduring symbols of his inimitable style.
Gretzky could already skate well by the time he suited up as an under-ager for atom hockey. In fact, he'd taken his first steps on ice at a pond on his paternal grandparents' cucumber farm when he was still two months shy of his third birthday.
His famous father, Walter Gretzky, eventually grew tired of "freezing while I waited for him to play hockey all day in the park" and built a rink in the flat backyard of the family's Varadi Avenue home. Wayne, his sister and three brothers could play there as long as they wanted, and when Walter wasn't putting them through drills skating around bottles, he could supervise from the warmth of his home. That rink became known as the Wally Coliseum, and once Wayne began lighting up the NHL it spawned an entire cottage industry in Canada.
Gretzky, who originally wore No. 3, had only one goal in his first year, but he began scoring in unprecedented bunches soon after. He transferred to No. 9 as he got older — an homage to his idol, Gordie Howe — and gained national attention for the first time with Brantford's Nadrofsky Steelers. In his breakout year as an 8-year-old he wore the sweater shown here and recorded 167 points. As a 10-year-old, he toppled that number with 378 goals and 139 assists for 517 points and was nicknamed "The White Tornado" (after the Ajax brand of cleaner and its slogan of the day) because of the white gloves he wore.
After two years of Junior A with Toronto's Seneca Nationals, Gretzky played his only year of major junior hockey with the Ontario Hockey League's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds at the age of 16 in 1977–78. He finished second in league scoring while also settling on the No. 99 that he would make famous and, ultimately, inaccessible in the NHL (since his retirement the NHL retired No. 99 league wide). It was team veteran Brian Gualazzi who had squatter's rights on No. 9, forcing Gretzky to choose a new number.
Gretzky, like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Babe Ruth, came to transcend his sport, and while he started off as a No. 3 in Brantford, he made No. 99 a symbol for excellence worldwide. Perhaps it was no accident that No. 99 retired in 1999 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame that same year. The date of that induction, November 22, also happened to be the same date of the informal founding of the NHL.
PAT LAFONTAINE WAS NOT the first player to play for all three NHL teams currently located in the state of New York, nor was he the last — but he was the only one who never played anywhere else.
That prompted his oft-quoted remark that he skated in the NHL 15 seasons, for three strong organizations, "and never had to buy new license plates."
Mike Donnelly became the first player to have worn game-day sweaters of the New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres when he played in three games for the Islanders in 1996–97, the season before LaFontaine made his last stop on the circuit at Madison Square Garden to register his own franchise hat trick. Donnelly's three Islander games were the last of his 465 in the NHL.
Jason Dawe, who was LaFontaine's teammate with the Sabres, joined the unique four-member club when he became a Ranger in 1999–2000, the season after LaFontaine had been forced to retire because of concussion problems. And goalie Martin Biron joined the Rangers in 2010–11, completing his own New York State sweater troika.
But the emperor of Empire State hockey is LaFontaine. Born in Missouri, raised in Michigan, LaFontaine left giant footprints in Buffalo and Long Island, and even in his one season in Manhattan.
After a season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Verdun Juniors — where he beat Mario Lemieux for the scoring title with 234 points (breaking scoring records held by Guy Lafleur and Mike Bossy) — LaFontaine was drafted third overall by the Islanders. He joined the team after the 1984 Olympics and played in the Islanders' 1984 Stanley Cup final loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
Three years later, he scored in the fourth overtime of the seventh game of the Patrick Division semifinal against the Washington Capitals. The game, immediately labeled the Easter Epic, was the longest Game 7 in NHL history. LaFontaine calls the goal his most memorable hockey moment, and hockey fans still approach him to tell him exactly where they were on the Saturday night/Easter Sunday morning that the game was played.
LaFontaine became a Buffalo Sabre for the 1991–92 season, and in 199293 he registered 148 points, the highest single season total ever by an American-born player, and by a Buffalo Sabre. Line-mate Alexander Mogilny was the chief beneficiary of his creativity and finesse, scoring a franchise record 76 goals.
LaFontaine's 1996-97 season with the Sabres was cut short as he suffered one of his six diagnosed concussions, this one resulting in post-concussion syndrome. The Sabres' management and medical staff would not clear him to play despite his insistence that he was healthy. He was traded to the Rangers in September 1997 and scored his 1,000th point and tied for the club lead in goals (23) that season.
However, late in the year LaFontaine collided with a teammate during a game and incurred another concussion. He didn't play again and officially retired in 1999 with the highest point-per-game ratio (1.17) of any American-born NHLer in history. Since his retirement he's been a highly visible advocate for concussion awareness.
WITH HEREDITY ON HIS SIDE, Brett Hull was born to score goals — and he did it everywhere he stopped on his road to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
But nowhere did "The Golden Brett" do it with such emphasis, and while engendering such gratitude, as he did in St. Louis during the early 1990s.
The Calgary Flames, who had shuttled Hull between the minors and the NHL over his first two seasons, traded the 23-year-old to the St. Louis Blues in March of 1988. The Flames had drafted him 117th overall two years earlier and clearly did not project him as one of the top three goal-scorers in NHL history. But that is exactly what Bobby "The Golden Jet" Hull's son became.
He wore sweater No. 16 with St. Louis — the same number his famous father wore during his first four seasons with the Chicago Black Hawks — and made it synonymous with the Hull name once again.
In his first full season with the Blues — and in the NHL for that matter — Hull scored 41 goals and won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. The next fall, center Adam Oates arrived in St. Louis from the Detroit Red Wings, and the prolific pair was tagged "Hull and Oates" after the best-selling musical duo Hall and Oates. Oates' creativity in getting Hull the puck resulted in The Golden Brett notching 72 goals, making him the first player to record 50 or more goal seasons in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (52 with the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 1986), the American Hockey League (50 with the Moncton Golden Flames in 1987) and the NHL.
In 1990–91 Oates had 90 assists and Hull scored 86 goals, the third-highest total ever recorded and the single-season record for goals by a right-winger. He won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player, and his 131 points set a Blues franchise record that still stands. That fall he led Team USA in scoring during their run to the Canada Cup silver medal.
Even though Oates was traded late in the 1991–92 season, Hull still scored 70 times. It was his third straight season with 70 goals or more, and the second straight year that he scored his first 50 goals within his first 50 games, making him the only player other than Wayne Gretzky to do so in back-to-back years. Hull followed his 70-goal season with 54 goals in 1992–93 and 57 goals in 1993–94, running his string of 50-plus-goal seasons to five in a row.
In Hull's 11 seasons in St. Louis, the Blues never advanced past the conference semifinals, and in 1998–99 he signed with the Dallas Stars, where because No. 16 was already taken he wore No. 22 for one year. Hull's highly controversial goal against the Buffalo Sabres' Dominik Hasek in the third overtime of Game 6 of the 1998–99 Stanley Cup final gave the Stars their first Stanley Cup championship. He won the Cup again with the Detroit Red Wings in 2002 when he and Hasek were teammates and roommates on the road.
Hull signed with the Phoenix Coyotes — formerly the Winnipeg Jets — just prior to the NHL lockout, and they reactivated his father's No. 9 jersey from retirement especially for him. When play resumed in the fall of 2005 Hull played only five games before retiring.
A year later the St. Louis Blues retired his number and renamed the street in front of their arena Brett Hull Way, with the rink address scheduled to become No. 16.
BEING THE COMPETITIVE and volatile game that it is, hockey could never have grown so big without them.
Referees and linesmen are supposed to be at their best when they go unnoticed, but the NHL has had some of the most memorable officials in all of professional sport. For much of the game's history, committed fans have been as familiar with the styles and attitudes of individual officials, particularly referees, as with those of players.
Excerpted from HOCKEY HALL of FAME BOOK of JERSEYS by STEVE MILTON Copyright © 2012 by Firefly Books Ltd.. Excerpted by permission of Firefly Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Introduction NHL Greats Around the Globe All-Stars Champions Hockey Hodgepodge Acknowledgments/Credits Index
INTRODUCTION by PHIL PRITCHARD
Is it called a jersey? Or is it a sweater? It's a great question that has been debated among hockey circles for years. No matter the answer, one thing is for sure: the Hockey Hall of Fame prides itself on having the world's premier collection of hockey uniforms. The concept of the Hockey Hall of Fame started in the 1940s when some of the prominent figures in hockey began collecting game-worn articles from players and teams. Although there wasn't a building until 1961, this early groundwork paved the way for the first collections that appeared at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds. Bobby Hewitson and Maurice "Lefty" Reid, along with their small staff, deserve a great deal of credit for their foresight. Collecting jerseys was one thing, but following milestones and tracking uniform styles and logo changes was not a simple task.
Today our vision of the Hockey Hall of Fame remains very similar to the one conceived by Bobby and Lefty, it is just more diverse. As the game has grown, so have the styles and designs that make up hockey's uniforms. Canada's gift to the world is now played in over 70 countries, and while some nations may only have a handful of club teams, many have well-established minor and professional leagues with each team sporting a different uniform. Ideally we'd love to have an item from every team that has ever played, and as we build our collection we never tire of adding new pieces.
Donations come from all over. Sometimes we'll receive help securing items for donation from people such as Pierre Trudeau and Marc Juteau of Classic Auctions, or Barry Meisel and Stu Oxhenhorn of the MeiGray Group. Longtime collector Allan Stitt has also kept his eyes and ears open for us.
Oftentimes, teams or players will go out of their way to donate items to us. After the 2008-09 playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins donated Evgeni Malkin's jersey. It was important to them that we have it. Wearing that jersey, Malkin became the first Russian to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff's Most Valuable Player.
However, to me, the best donations come from you, the fans. Without your generosity we simply could not be the foremost authority on hockey's history.
What I like most about receiving fan donations are the stories behind the artifacts stories about the players, the teams and the leagues who used the items, as well as the circumstances surrounding how they arrived at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Those stories are often just as interesting as the artifacts themselves.
Recently, John MacMillan, who came up through the college ranks in the United States and had a lengthy professional career including two Stanley Cup victories with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the early 1960s, was traveling to Toronto to take part in the 50th anniversary celebrations for the Leafs' 1962 Cup win. Prior to the trip he and his wife were reminiscing about John's early career and they happened to come across his old college hockey equipment; the next thing they did was call the Hockey Hall of Fame. We were honored and thrilled to get the call, and John was honored and thrilled that we were interested in his jerseys.
The Soviet National Team jersey worn by Vsevolod Bobrov at the 1954 World Championship (page 156) is one of my personal favorites in the book. Who would have thought that the "Big Red Machine" in Russia would have started off wearing bright blue? Another favorite is the trio of Boston Bruins jerseys worn by the famed Kraut Line (page 18). Those jerseys span three decades from the 1930s to the 1950s and the line, made up of Milt Schmidt, Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer, played together their entire career; not only in the NHL, but in junior, minor-pro and even in the Royal Canadian Air
At the Hockey Hall of Fame we are fortunate to be able to see these artifacts every day, and it is our supreme pleasure to share them with you. As you flip through the pages of this book, enjoy the beautiful photographs that expertly capture the wide array of fabrics, colors, logos and crests, and immerse yourself in the stories behind each jersey. I know I will.
And remember, somewhere in those basements, attics or storage units might be that old Hamilton Tigers or Toronto St. Patricks jersey we have always been looking for. Or maybe it will be that unique sweater from the Western Hockey League that featured Johnny Canuck. Regardless of whether you call it a jersey or a sweater, we'll have a home for it at the Hockey Hall of Fame. We will preserve it, conserve it and have it on display for hockey fans around the world to see.
By the way, I call them hockey jerseys, and the best ones are game worn.
Phil Pritchard Vice President and Curator Hockey Hall of Fame