Sunday, March 29, 2015

Reader Submission - Yale Bulldogs 1930's Wool Sweater

Our 27th reader submission comes from Chuck Eckles, a fantastic vintage sweater he was able to track down and acquire for his collection.

Here is Chuck's story about his historical sweater and how he has attempted to learn the elusive story behind it.

I recently bought a Yale dureen jersey and I thought it would be nice to add a wool sweater to the collection. I like Yale shirts in particular because they were the first collegiate team in the USA and they helped bring the sport to this country. I looked on the various auction sites to see if a wool sweater had been sold and there were four I found, one from Yale, one from Colgate and two from Dartmouth. If wool college sweaters exist in the hobby, they are not plentiful or they lurk deep in the collections of very private collectors.

I did a Google image search and found a couple of images which I investigated. I found the Antique Sports Shop in Elwyn, Pa. Owner Keith Vujicic deals exclusively in pre-war sports antiques. He had a road blue number 11 Yale wool sweater for sale which I promptly purchased. I had asked him about the history of the sweater but he bought it from a dealer at an antiques show. He could not help me in ascertaining who had worn this shirt.  It had been used for a couple of seasons as is evidenced by the numerous patches and sewn repairs. The tag is long gone from this sweater but most have Spalding tags in them. It would be easy to photo match this distinctively worn sweater but finding a photo has proved difficult. 

I was advised by some more serious and experienced collectors that I should lay the sweater flat in a sealed plastic bag and freeze it for a week to kill any moth larvae. I should then repeat the process for another week. I have also looked into textile conservation services out of Indianapolis. I realize restoring this shirt reduces its collective value but does not reduce it's historical value. I'm not sure what to do, right now I just really appreciate this sweater.   

I checked both the hockeydb and the Society for International Hockey Research for information but there simply is not a significant amount of information about college hockey prior to 1950. I found three men that wore number 11 for Yale prior to 1950. Roger Shepard skated for Yale in the 33-34 season. Bill Barnes skated for Yale from 1937 thru 1940. By looking at a Yale program on eBay a guy named Robinson skated during the 31-32 season.

I picked up Dan Fleschner's book "Bulldogs on Ice". The book provides thumbnail biographies of all the impact players in Yale's hockey history. It is a great photographic reference as well to the different styles of shirts Yale hockey players have worn thru the ages. The sweaters of the 1950's have larger white shoulders than those that predate them. Therefore, I believe this sweater was worn during the 40's or 30's.  I did shoot an e-mail off to The Yale University library asking them if anyone else wore number 11 during the 40's and 30's and if they could possibly photo match this sweater to a photo in the year book. It has been a while and I have not heard from them. 

That's not all bad, I've always wanted to catch a game at Ingalls Arena. 

Yale 1950s jersey photo Yale 1950 F jersey.jpg
Yale 1950s jersey photo Yale 1950 B jersey.jpg
 photo Yale jersey display.jpg

Many thanks to Chuck for taking the time to photograph his amazing Yale Bulldogs sweater and share how he has tried to research who wore it and when it was from. We really appreciate the work involved when our readers take the time and effort to share their jerseys through their writing and photos.

While NHL hockey is fairly well documented back to it's origins, international and college hockey can prove quite a challenge when trying to unearth even the most basic information. Even when statistics for players can be discovered, roster numbers in particular are seldom, if ever, attached to the player names. 

Like Chuck, we've also found that emailing an organization and hoping to connect with someone who may be in a position to help seldom results in any new information, and more often than not, generates no response at all.

With that in mind, Chuck has done a really good job of narrowing his sweater down to the era it is from and a small list of possible names to have worn his amazing piece of hockey history.

If you have a jersey in your collection that you'd like to share with us and your fellow readers, please submit your pictures and a story to go with it, no matter how brief or detailed, to and we look forward to seeing your favorites!


  1. What an awesome find! Looks fantastic for its age.

  2. It's great, isn't it? Our readers never fail to send us the most interesting jerseys - and they are all so different from each other!

  3. I did hear back from the Yale library and they sent me some photos I had never seen but it did not produce a photo match


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