Sunday, July 3, 2011
July by the Numbers continues with jersey #3, a vintage Canadian National Team jersey.
From 1920 until 1952 Canada was used to having it's way at the World Championships, having won 15 titles in 18 tries, with the other three being silver medals, split between the World Championships and the Olympics, which counted as that year's World Championships during the years it was played.
Canada skipped the 1953 tournament but was back for the 1954 edition in the form of the East York Lyndhursts of Toronto. Waiting for them was a newcomer to the World Championships in the form of the Soviet Union, who had only been competing in international hockey since 1951. Both Canada and the Soviet Union had strong tournaments and entered the final game undefeated, with Canada sitting at 6-0 and the Soviets at 6-0-1, the only blemish being a 1-1 tie against Sweden.
The Soviets shocked the Canadians with a 7-2 pounding to take the World Championship in their first try.
Back in Canada, the Penticton Vees had captured the Allan Cup as the National Senior Champions of Canada, earning the right to represent Canada at the 1955 World Championships in Krefeld, West Germany, as the Canadians did not assemble a national team made up of players from all across the country, but sent the national senior championship club to represent the nation internationally at the time.
The 1955 Canadian Olympic Team
The tournament began on February 25th, and both the Canadians and Soviets won easily to open their schedules, with Canada winning 12-1 over the United States while the Soviet Union won 10-2 over Finland.
Tougher competition awaited both teams the next day, but they both prevailed as the Soviets won 2-1 over Sweden while Canada defeated Czechoslovakia 5-3.
Both teams posted shutouts the next day, Canada 8-0 over Poland and the Czechs fell to their rival Soviets 4-0.
Unbelievable by today's standards, both teams played their fourth game in four days on the 28th, as the Soviet Union cruised to an 8-2 win over Poland and Canada demolished Finland 12-0 to maintain both team's perfect marks.
Following a well earned day off, both clubs hit the ice on March 2nd, Canada again winning by double digits, 11-1 over Switzerland while the Soviets shut out the Americans 3-0. March 3rd saw Canada get by the Swedes 3-0 and the Soviet Union kept pace with their 5-1 win over the host West Germans.
They swapped opponents the next day, with Canada dominating West Germany 10-1 and the Swiss falling 7-2 to the Soviets, setting up their final match for the title on March 6th with both clubs sporting perfect 7-0 records.
Canada led 1-0 after one period on a goal by Mike Shabaga before adding a pair of goals in the second by Bill Warwick on a deflection off of a stick and another goal from Shabaga.
Still leery of a Soviet comeback, Canada added two more goals in the third when Warwick got his second before team captain and defenseman George McAvoy blasted one from the point to finish off the scoring to wrap up a 5-0 shutout victory by goaltender Ivan McLelland to reclaim hockey supremacy for the nation of Canada.
Bunny Ahearne, IIHF president, congratulates the captains of both clubs, Vsevolod Bobrov of the Soviet Union and George McAvoy of the victorious Canadians following the game
Today's featured jersey is a 1955 Team Canada George McAvoy jersey as worn in the 1955 World Championships when Canada, in the form of the Penticton Vees, reclaimed Canada's status as champions of the world.
This jersey features an unusual amount of blue when compared to a modern Canadian jersey, but Canada's flag prior to 1965 did contain a Union Jack and coat of arms which did contain a fair amount of blue.
Here is brief footage of a monument to the Penticton Vees featuring a quote from goaltender McLelland.
Here is action from the final game of the 1955 World Championships when Canada defeated the Soviet Union 5-0 to avenge Canada's surprising loss to the Soviets the previous year.