jacques plante,

When Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante surprised the hockey world by donning a fibreglass mask during a Nov. 1, 1959, NHL game, he had at least one supporter in the city of Montreal.

When Elizabeth Jenkinson, a wife and mother of three, learned of Plante’s actions, she casually told her family: “I used to wear a mask.”

Indeed she did.

On Feb. 7, 1927, Elizabeth Graham, the 21-year-old goalie on the Queen’s University women’s hockey team, became the first netminder to wear a mask in a game.

The Arnprior native did so in a 3-2 win over the Toronto Varsity Blues at Jock Harty Arena.

The Whig-Standard reported in its Feb. 8 edition that “The Queen’s goaler gave the fans a surprise when she stepped into the nets and then donned a fencing mask. It was safety-first with her and even at that she can’t be blamed for her precautionary methods.”

The Queen’s Journal reported that “Bessie Graham, resplendent in full armour guarded the net.”

Today I was struck by a terrible conviction that Jack Zimmermann is a hardcore hockey history nerd who can only occasionally be persuaded to care about anything else that happened in the past.

In elementary school they had to do a report on “My Hero” and Jack researched Jacques Plante and talked for an extremely excited ten minutes about how Plante had a 27-year career and won six Stanley Cups and seven Vezina trophies and was the first goalie in the NHL to play outside the crease and he engineered the use of goalie masks and was a major innovator in player safety and Jack made this papier-mache copy of Plante’s first hockey mask and his dad helped him drill out holes so he could breathe and–

“Jack, who was John Cabot?”

“I don’t know.  Did he play hockey?”

“Jack, tell us about life for settlers* in early Quebec” (*french: les habitants)

“Well, before a game the team* always used to…” (*hockey: Les Habs)

If you want him to talk nonstop for an hour, ask him what he thinks the greatest hockey game of all time was. 

He got over it his monofocus eventually, but only just by extending his laserlike concern to broader topics like “World War II”–he still doesn’t give a crap about anything outside his area of interest.  It’s still less true to say he is a history geek than to say he took every class Samwell offered related to hockey, from Sports Management to Kinesiology to Human Ecology 267: History of Leisure and Recreation, and then looked at his credits and went, “Huh, I could make a history degree out of this.”


a little hockey history: jacques plantes and the lucky mask

At the Madison Square Guarden, on November 1st 1959, three minutes after the beginning of the game, Jacques Plante, goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens, took a puck to the face after a shot by Andy Bathgate, which instantly broke his nose. He was immediately taken to the dressing room to get stitches. As he was ready to return to the game, Plante said he would only go back on the ice if he was allowed to wear a mask to protect himself. He had previously worn said homemade mask during practice but headcoach Toe Blake didn’t permet it during regulation play. Since he had no other option that night, (each team had only one goaltender back in the day), he allowed Plante to wear it, knowing that Jacques would refuse to play otherwise. They agreed that he would discard it once his wounds healed. Plante kept his mask for the following nights and ended up with a 18-game winning streak. The headcoach became less insistent about getting rid of Jacques’ protection. The only night Blake asked Plante to discard the mask, the Canadiens lost 3-0. The “good luck charm” was brought back the following night, where they won once again. The Canadiens went on to win their fifth Stanley Cup in a row that year. Jacques Plante was the first hockey goaltender to wear a mask in regulation play on a regular basis and is still to this day considered one of hockey’s greatest innovators.

  • what she says: i'm fine
  • what she means: montreal canadiens goaltender carey price still does not have a stanley cup as of 2015 despite having a career year, even breaking the habs' single season wins record (set, by the way, by legendary keepers jacques plante and ken dryden). he was voted mvp by both players and writers this past year and teammates and opponents alike extol his virtues. many would, in fact, call him the best goalie in the world right now, a statement justified by his play in recent years and backed by his performance in sochi in 2014, where he posted two consecutive shutouts against the u.s. and sweden for the semifinal and final games. all professional accomplishments aside, pricey worked extremely hard to get to where he is today, facing odds that were distinctly not in his favor. for instance, when he was a child, there was no form of competitive organized hockey in his area, so his father would drive him four hours ONE WAY to get him to practices and games!! eventually they just acquired a piper cherokee to make the commute easier. pricey's always faced a tremendous amount of pressure from the montreal fans and media--a real pressure cooker. despite literally being booed by his home crowd on multiple occasions in his sophomore season, price just worked harder and displayed his perseverance and resolve as well as his innate talent, eventually ending up where he is today: well-respected and well-regarded by fans, players, and writers alike. but that's not all! he's also a leader on the ice and in the locker room for his team, and although he's generally pretty quiet, when he speaks everyone in the clubhouse stops to listen!! in addition, he's deeply aware of the disadvantages and prejudices that first nations children face, as his mother is a former chief of the ulkatcho first nation, and is deeply involved in philanthropy in his home, anahim lake. this past nhl awards show, he took the time to specifically encourage first nations children to follow their dreams and to not be "discouraged by the improbable." carey price is good and kind and polite and works so hard and loves his team and is an insanely talented goalie and deSERVES BETTER THAN TO HAVE NO STANLEY CUP WINS IN EIGHT YEARS IN THIS LEAGUE

local-werewolf  asked:

Mollyhall! Maybe you answered this before, but why can't Goalies be captains?

i may have? i’m not sure. whatever, i’ve had a buuunch of wine tonight so i’ll just answer it anyway!! 

unofficially, goalies can be captain. roberto luongo was captain for the vancouver canucks for a while, which is hilarious given, like, roberto luongo’s current relationship with the vancouver canucks. though the caveat here is that he wasn’t allowed to be “on-ice” captain, so they made willie mitchell (now REGULAR NORMAL CAPDAD down in florida) do it. 

also i’m not sure whether the league … agreed?? with this?? i went to try to hunt down whether the nhl ever sat the vancouver canucks down to be like “PLEASE STOP” but i couldn’t find evidence in either direction. anyway, lu wore a C on his helmet since he wasn’t allowed to wear it on his jersey.

what was i saying? OH RIGHT. 

so the reason why goalies can’t be captain is because of bill durnan. back when ol’ bill was playing (the….forties???? the fifties???? i could look this up but i’m not going to) he was the captain of the habs, and he used to talk shit to the refs on so many calls that people started to think he was doing it on purpose to give the habs players extra timeouts. (i mean. it’s not like jacques plante didn’t used to do that shit all the time with “equipment error.”


(“what?! me?! how dare you impugn my honor in this way. i would NEVER,” he said, cutting off his laces with a pair of scissors.)

(goalies have a long and storied history of being hilarious, dirty rotten cheaters.) 

so bill durnan!!! he used to argue calls all the time, which meant he had to leave his crease, which meant extra time for everyone to hang around. since captains are the only players technically allowed to talk to the refs, it was eventually deemed too annoying to everybody for the goalie to come out of his crease every 10 seconds. which is why it’s sometimes called the “durnan rule.” THANKS, BILL. YOU RUINED IT FOR EVERYBODY.

ps. also, goalies are allowed to talk to the refs whenever they want, so they don’t really need a letter. they just can’t leave their crease to do it.


so i’ve been on a reading tear lately and people are always asking me for book recs, so i thought i’d make a new list of books you should all get your hands on immediately. spoiler alert: i’ve been kind of on a history kick.

find part one here.

  1. Between the Pipes: A Look A Hockey’s Most Legendary Goalies by Randi Druzin:I HEARD YOU LIKED GOALIES. this book is totally phenomenal, you guys, you GUYS. like you know how we all love goalies (everybody loves goalies, don’t front, you love goalies, admit how much you love them just adMIT IT)?? this book looks at 12 of the most legendary goalies in hockey history. i know you guys think you love bobrovsky and fleury and crow and brodeur but this book will have you being like A BEER FOR JACQUES PLANTE AMIRITE?? when you’re out at the bar. though you might continue slobbering over brodeur, because he’s in the book and–i mean, he’s brodeur. IF YOU LIKE GOALIES YOU WILL LOVE THIS BOOK.

  2. Hockey Talk: From Hat Tricks to Headshots and Everything In-Between from Sports Illustrated: this is actually just a collection of crazy awesome hockey articles written for the magazine, but what’s so A++++ about it is that they’re taken from so many different decades. You get a snapshot of gretzky BEFORE HE WENT PROFESSIONAL, and gordie howe when he was still playing in the WHA at like 100 years old, and a really awesome glance at the KHL back during the soviet area. it’s just a really well-curated collection of looks into the NHL’s evolution. also, i know u guise love sidney crosby, and this book contains an article that spends like 10 pages talking about his beautiful golden goal. trust me, you’ll love it.

  3. Big Bucks and Blue Pucks by Greg Murray:the WHA was hilarious, but also enormously important in the development of hockey as a professional sport. what is so great about this book is that it really doesn’t editorialize very much; it’s got a Who’s Who, the complete stats and records (!!!!!), weird/fun trivia facts,  AND this amazing interview section of some of the WHA (and hockey’s) biggest stars talking about their time in the league (including Gordie Howe!). the WHA is the Bob’s Burgers of hockey leagues, so you should all love it accordingly.

  4. Of Ice and Men by Bruce Dowbiggin: you know when someone writes a book and you are like, goddamn, you love your subject? that is this book. it looks at stevie y, cheelios, sather, and dominik hasek (EVERYBODY PLEASE LOVE DOMINIK HASEK IF YOU DON’T ALREADY) as a kind of entree into what makes hockey so great. but it also doesn’t let the sport (or the NHL as a league) off the hook, i don’t think. THAT BEING SAID, THERE ARE SOME SERIOUS ERRORS IN THIS BOOK. like, factual errors. actual factual errors. this book is great for reading about narrative and thinking about the way people respond to hockey (and why they respond that way), but not good if you are writing a paper about facts. so… take the good with the bad, man. take the good with the bad.

  5. A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs & the Rise of Professional Hockey by Stephen Harper: regardless of whether or not the leafs are your team (and whether or not you like stephen harper), this is a REALLY fascinating looks at pro hockey’s beginnings. it’s also going to give you some really weird, misplaced canada feelings if you’re not canadian (or some really intense, teary patriotic canada feelings if you are). just trust me.
In the dressing room before the game, [Jacques] Plante was so nervous that he had trouble tying his skate laces. Canadiens superstar Maurice “Rocket” Richard approached Plante and showed him his hands. They were also shaking.

Richard assured the 24-year-old goalie that he would calm down once the game had started–and he was right. […] Plante stopped 23 shots as the Canadiens won 3-0. (Between the Pipes: A Revealing Look at Hockey’s Legendary Goalies by Randi Druzin)

do you ever cry about the rocket because