Monday, January 25, 2016
Today begins All-Star Week here at Third String Goalie as we count down the days until Sunday's 61st NHL All-Star Game hosted by the Nashville Predators.
The first of four All-Star type games prior to it becoming an annual tradition took place way back on January 8, 1908 as a benefit for the family of Hod Stuart, who died in a drowning accident three months after the Wanderers won the Stanley Cup. In that first game, the Montreal Wanderers faced off against a team of All-Star players from the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association
It would be nearly 26 years later before the first All-Star style game would take place featuring players of the National Hockey League. This game was again another benefit game as a result of Eddie Shore violently retaliating for a hard check by Red Horner of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The enraged Shore hit the Maple Leafs Irvine "Ace" Bailey from behind, which caused Bailey to flip over backwards and hit his head on the ice so hard it fractured his skull and sent him into convulsions. His injuries were so severe, it not only ended Bailey's playing career, a priest in attendance administered the last rites. Bailey underwent several operations to save his life and eventually spent a month in the hospital before being able to return home to Toronto.
Two months later a benefit game for Bailey and his family was held at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto when the Maple Leafs took on a squad made up of All-Stars from the eight other clubs in the NHL at the time, two from each team. As part of the event, Bailey's #6 was retired by the Maple Leafs, the first number ever retired in NHL history.
The lasting image from the game is the cordial handshake which took place between Bailey and Shore to a resounding ovation from the crowd.
Bailey greets Shore to a rousing ovation prior to the game. Note Shore wearing his usual Bruins sweater.
Prior to the game the All-Stars were introduced while wearing their NHL club sweaters, but after the introductions were concluded, Bailey, league President Frank Calder and New York Rangers owner Frank Patrick presented each player with his special NHL All-Star jersey. The Maple Leafs also wore special jerseys for the occasion, emblazoned with "ACE" diagonally across the front with the team logo on the upper left chest.
A group shot of all the participants of the Ace Bailey Benefit Game with the NHL All-Stars now wearing their special All-Star sweaters for the contest
The game drew 14,074 fans and raised $20,909 for Bailey, who dropped the ceremonial first puck prior to the game, which was won by the Maple Leafs by a score of 7-3.
Bailey drops the ceremonial puck prior to the benefit game in his honor
A ticket stub from the Howie Morenz Memorial Game
Morenz had died in the hospital in March, 1937, five weeks after breaking his leg in four places during a game. On November 3, 1937 a memorial game to raise money for Morenz's family was held at the Montreal Forum between a combined team of the Montreal Canadiens and Montreal Maroons versus a team comprised of the team of All-Stars from the six other NHL franchises of the day.
The combined team of Montreal Canadiens and Montreal Maroons
The game was won by the NHL All-Stars 6-5 and both teams again wore special sweaters for the occasion, but with somewhat less sartorial success than those worn in the Ace Bailey Benefit Game, particularly the stark white sweaters worn by the NHL All-Stars.
The sweater worn by the combined Montreal Clubs in the 1937 Howie Morenz Memorial Game
The sweater worn by Mush March of the NHL All-Stars in the 1937 Howie Morenz Memorial Game
The rear view of the NHL All-Stars sweater, quite possibly the plainest, dare we say boring, sweater in hockey history
One last memorial game took place on October 29, 1939 to benefit the family of Babe Siebert, a 14 year NHL veteran who was named coach of the Montreal Canadiens upon his retirement as a player, who drowned in Lake Huron on August 25, 1939 before he was ever able to coach the Canadiens.
The game featured the NHL All-Stars against the Montreal Canadiens and was won by the All-Stars by a score of 5-2 and raised $15,000 for his family, which included Siebert's wife, who was paralyzed from the waist down.
While the Canadiens wore their normal game sweaters, the All-Stars were again given special sweaters for the game, which left no doubt as to which team the All-Stars were, thanks to it's bold star logo on the chest. This made for a much more pleasing result, especially with the addition of the black and orange trim, than the previous Morenz Game sweaters.
Ebbie Goodfellow's 1939 NHL All-Star jersey from the Babe Siebert Memorial Game
Today's featured jersey is a 1934 NHL All-Star Ace Bailey Benefit Game jersey as worn in the first All-Star contest in NHL history, a charity event to raise money for injured Toronto star Ace Bailey.
This jersey is the first special jersey worn by an NHL All-Star team and is currently on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
Today's video section is a look at the 1934 Ace Bailey Benefit Game, held in Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens.
Our next video is a brief recollection on the passing of Howie Morenz in 1937.