Monday, August 31, 2009
The Winnipeg Falcons were the world's first Olympic Hockey Champions, having won gold at the 1920 Winter Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.
Founded in 1911 with a roster of players of Icelandic decent because they were not welcomed on other teams due to racial prejudice, The Falcons played until 1917. The team was reorganized in 1919 after a number of their players returned from service in World War I.
The Falcons were chosen to represent all of Canada at the Olympic Games by virtue of having won the Allan Cup as the 1920 Canadian National Senior Amateur Champions.
During the Olympics the Falcons defeated Czechoslovakia 15-0, the United States 2-0 and Sweden 12-1 to capture the gold medal.
On their return to Canada, they were honored with a parade, given gold pocket watches and feted at several banquets.
On April 29th, 2006 the Winnipeg Falcons were inducted into Canada's Olympic Hall of Fame and there is now an exhibit in honor of the Falcons at the MTS Center in Winnipeg.
For further reading, there are now several books available about the Falcons, When Falcons Fly, Long Shot and Falcons Gold. I also recommend WinnipegFalcons.com, which proved invaluable in researching this entry.
When the North American pool of the World Cup of Hockey kicked off on this date in 2004, the United States travelled to Montreal to take on Team Canada, who wore 1920 Winnipeg Falcons throwback jerseys. Team Canada won the contest by a 2-1 score on goals by Martin St. Louis and Joe Sakic. It would be the only time Team Canada's senior team would wear the Falcons jerseys.
The jerseys were worn one once more, in an exhibition game between Canada's World Junior Team and Team Finland on December 20th, 2004 at the MTS Center in Winnipeg, which ended in a 6-0 win for Canada before they would go on to dominate the 2005 World Junior Tournament in Grand Forks, North Dakota with a team that included Sidney Crosby. The full roster of players from the exhibition game can be found here.
Today's featured jersey is a Nike 2004 Team Canada Alternate Mario Lemieux "Winnipeg Falcons" Throwback jersey as worn on August 31st, 2004. One unique aspect of the Falcons throwbacks is that all the jerseys had "CANADA" on the back instead of each individual player's name, similar to the 1972 Canada Cup jerseys.
The jersey also features the 2004 World Cup of Hockey logo patch on the upper left chest, along with Mario Lemieux's captain's "C".
While the Falcons normally wore blue and green "barberpole" striped jerseys, it's uncertain why the Falcons' Olympic jerseys were old gold and black, a choice of colors that proved unpopular with fans in 2004 and earned them a spot in Third String Goalie's "Curious, Weird and Ugly" Collection.
Here is Team Canada in action wearing their Falcons jerseys in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey versus the United States.
Don't forget to scroll down to read yesterday's bonus post regarding the official public debut of the Minnesota Wild's new third jersey posted after yesterday's regular entry.