Saturday, January 28, 2017

1934 NHL All-Star Ace Bailey Benefit Game Jersey

In honor of All-Star Weekend, today we take a look at the four All-Star games held prior to the game becoming an annual event.

The first of four All-Star type games prior to it becoming an annual tradition took place way back on January 8, 1908 (nine years before the creation of the National Hockey League) as a benefit for the family of Hod Stuart, who died in a swimming accident when he dove onto obscured rocks in shallow water and died instantly of a broken neck just three months after he and the Wanderers won the Stanley Cup in 1907.

Hod Stuart Obit
A newspaper account of Stuart's accident

In that first game, the Montreal Wanderers faced off against a team of All-Star players from the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association in front of 3,800 fans, raising over $2,100 for his widow and two children.

Stuart Montreal Wanderers
Hod Stuart

The Wanderers led 7-1 after the first half of the contest, but the All-Stars, which consisted of players from the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Victorias, Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, Montreal Shamrocks and Quebec Bulldogs, fought back to make it a game, but the Wanderers prevailed by a final score of 10-7. There is no information available regarding what sweaters the All-Stars wore for the game, either their usual club sweaters or a special All-Star design especially for the game.

Stuart Memorial Game
An ad for the first All-Star Game,
a fundraiser for the family of Hod Stuart

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 mistakenly hit the Maple Leafs Irvine "Ace" Bailey from behind, thinking he was Horner, causing Bailey to flip over and hit his head on the ice so hard it fractured his skull and sending him into convulsions. Bailey's injuries were so severe, it not only ended his playing career, but 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.

Ace Bailey Maple Leafs
Ace Bailey

Two months later on February 14, 1934 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.

Toronto got out to a 2-0 lead before the All-Stars scored to make it 2-1 after the first period. Toronto scored first in the second period to go up 3-1, but two goals by the All-Stars pulled them even at 3-3 before a controversial ruling on an apparent shot off the post by Hap Day was ruled a goal for a 4-3 Toronto advantage after two. While the All-Stars took many shots in the third period, Maple Leafs goaltender George Hainsworth stood firm and Toronto added another early goal for a 5-3 lead. Eventually, All-Stars coach Lester Patrick put five forwards on the ice in an all-out attempt to score, but the move did not pay off as two late goals made for a final score of 7-3 for Bailey's former club the Maple Leafs, delighting the home fans in Toronto.

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.

Ace Bailey Eddie Shore handshake
Bailey greets Shore to a rousing ovation prior to the game.
Note Shore wearing his usual Bruins sweater rather than
a special All-Star sweater for the event.

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.

 Ace Bailey Tribute Game All-Stars
The pregame photo with each All-Star
wearing their club team's 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.

1937 Toronto Maple Leafs Ace Bailey jersey team photo B&W small
A rare shot of the Maple Leafs wearing their Ace Bailey jerseys

1934 NHL All-Star Game
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 All-Star puck drop
Bailey drops the ceremonial puck prior to the benefit game in his honor

Following the 1934 benefit game for Bailey, two more All-Star style games took place, the first being for the late Howie Morenz of the Montreal Canadiens, a participant in the Ace Bailey Benefit Game.

Morenz Memorial Game ticket
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.

Morenz Memorial Game Maroons & Candiens
The combined team of Montreal Canadiens and Montreal Maroons

The game was attended by 8,683 fans and raised over $20,000. The combined Montreal squad scored first but the All-Stars finished the first period ahead by 2-1. The All-Stars extended their lead to 3-1 thanks to the only goal of the second period. After Montreal cut the lead to 3-2 at the 51 second mark of the third period, the All-Stars seemingly put the game away with two goals 43 second apart within the next two minutes followed later by a goal at the 15 minute mark for a 6-2 lead, but the Montreal clubs rallied for three goals in 3:02 to make it 6-5, but it was too little, too late as the final goal came with just 45 seconds left in the game as the All-Stars held on for the victory. Johnny Gagnon was the offensive standout with 2 goals and an assist for Montreal.

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.

Howie Morenz Memorial Game Montreal team jersey
The sweater worn by the combined Montreal Clubs in the
1937 Howie Morenz Memorial Game
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Morenz Memorial Game All-Star Jersey
The sweater worn by Mush March of the NHL All-Stars in the
1937 Howie Morenz Memorial Game

Morenz Memorial Game All-Star Jersey
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.

Babe Siebert Memorial Game program
The program from the Babe Siebert Memorial Game

The game featured the NHL All-Stars against the Montreal Canadiens and was won by the All-Stars by a score of 5-2 in front of 6,000 fans and raised $15,000 for his family, which included Siebert's wife, who was paralyzed from the waist down.

The All-Stars led 2-0 after the first period on goals by Bobby Bauer and Shore, both assisted by Syl Apps, Sr. and Johnny Gottselig. Apps scored again early in the second period from Bauer before Montreal scored their first goal at 5:49. Two minutes later Gottselig responded from Apps and Art Coulter. Then, Earl Seibert (note the different spelling of the last name compared to Babe Siebert) gave the All-Stars a 5-1 lead at 11:21 and Montreal closed out the scoring with a goal with 45 seconds left in the second, making the final score 5-2 for the All-Stars, as no goals were scored during the third period. Apps was the star of the night as he finished the game with a goal and 3 assists.

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.

Siebert Memorial Game All-Star Jersey
Siebert Memorial Game All-Star Jersey
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.

1934 NHL ACE Bailey NHL All-Star Jersey

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1934 Toronto Maple Leafs "ACE" jersey as worn by the Maple Leafs during the Ace Bailey benefit game, the precursor to the modern NHL All-Star Game. This particular sweater is a modern remake of the Maple Leafs original version.

1934 Tornoto Maple Leafs ACE jersey

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.

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