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Monday, October 12, 2015

2004 Team Canada 1920 Winnipeg Falcons Throwback Mario Lemieux jersey

Although it has been an annual celebration dating back to 1879, following a parliamentary declaration in 1957, the second Monday in October has been celebrated as Thanksgiving Day in Canada.

In honor of this long-standing Canadian tradition, we present the oldest Canadian National Team sweater we could find, which also happens to belong to the world's first Olympic hockey champions, dating back to 1920.

The Winnipeg Falcons were 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 originally played until 1917 and the team was then reorganized in 1919 after a number of their players returned from service in World War I.

The Falcons were then 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 1920 Olympics, the Falcons first defeated Czechoslovakia 15-0, then the United States 2-0 followed by a 12-1 victory over Sweden to capture the first Olympic gold medal for Canada.


On their return to Canada, they were celebrated with a parade, given gold pocket watches and honored with 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: The Story of the World's First Olympic Gold Hockey Team, Long Shot: How the Winnipeg Falcons won the first Olympic hockey gold and Falcons Gold : Canada's First Olympic Hockey Heroes. We also recommend WinnipegFalcons.com, which proved invaluable in researching this entry.

When the North American pool of the World Cup of Hockey began in 2004, the United States traveled to Montreal on August 31, 2004 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 Falcons jerseys were worn one once more, this time in an exhibition game between Canada's World Junior Team and Team Finland on December 20th, 2004 at the MTS Center in Winnipeg. The game ended in a 6-0 win for Canada, a precursor to the domination they would display at the 2005 World Junior Tournament in Grand Forks, North Dakota with an impressive team of future NHL stars that included Sidney Crosby. The full roster of players from that exhibition game can be found here.

Sidney Crosby Winnipeg Falcons
Crosby the only time he ever wore the Winnipeg Falcons jersey

Today's featured jersey is a 2004 Team Canada 1920 Winnipeg Falcons Throwback Mario Lemieux 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 original 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 our "Curious, Weird and Ugly" Collection.

Canada 2004 WCOH Alt jersey photo Canada2004WCOHAltF.jpg
Canada 2004 WCOH Alt jersey photo Canada2004WCOHAltB.jpg
Canada 2004 WCOH Alt jersey photo Canada2004WCOHAltP.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2005 Team Canada 1920 Winnipeg Falcons Throwback Sidney Crosby jersey as worn during the World Junior Team's exhibition game in Winnipeg on December 20th, 2004 at the MTS Center in a 6-0 win over Finland.

The Canadians would not wear this jersey during the 2005 World Junior Championships in Grand Forks, North Dakota, making this the second and last time this style would ever be worn and the only time this jersey would be worn by future NHLers such as Crosby, Brent Seabrook, Dion Phaneuf, Shea Weber, Jeff Carter, Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Richards, Corey Perry, Clarke MacArthur and Patrice Bergeron.

Canada 2005 WJC Falcons jersey photo Canada 2005 WJC Falcons F.jpg
Canada 2005 WJC Falcons jersey photo Canada 2005 WJC Falcons B.jpg

Here is Team Canada in action wearing their Winnipeg Falcons jerseys during the 2004 World Cup of Hockey versus the United States - the only time they would wear them.

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