HFBoards

Go Back   HFBoards > NHL Eastern Conference > Metropolitan Division > New York Rangers
Mobile Hockey's Future Become a Sponsor Site Rules Support Forum vBookie Page 2
Notices

50 Years Ago Tonight

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old
11-01-2009, 01:34 AM
  #1
bobbop
Henrik's Pop
 
bobbop's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Suburban Phoenix
Country: United States
Posts: 4,839
vCash: 500
50 Years Ago Tonight

November 1, 1959 is the date of my first and grandest hockey memory.

I was all of 7 years old and on this Sunday school night I was in bed with my radio tuned to a New York Rangers hockey game. The Rangers were playing the Stanley Cup Champion Montreal Canadians and I had recently discovered hockey on radio. It was my bed time but I’m sure I intended to listen for at least a period. Jim Gordon, who became all-time favorite hockey announcer, was calling the game.

Then the unthinkable happened.

Andy Bathgate, the star of the New York Rangers lifted a backhand shot into the unprotected face of Montreal goaltender Jacques Plante. Plante was badly cut and left the ice for repairs. In this era, National League teams only carried one goaltender. If a netminder was injured, the game was stopped until the player could be stitched up. If the goaltender could not continue, a house goaltender (usually an amateur player) or a team trainer would be pressed into action.

Plante was hockey’s premier goaltender of the 1950s. He was coming off his 4th straight Stanley Cup championship (heading towards his 5th) and his play had revolutionized the game. He was also eccentric and moody. And he was about to change the game in a way he could never imagine.

Plante had been practicing with a mask and had vowed to start wearing it in games. Montreal coach Toe Blake was adamantly opposed to Plante’s mask. On this night though, Plante said he would not return to the game without his protective mask. Blake objected, but eventually relented. Jacques Plante was about to become the first goaltender to wear a full face mask in a National Hockey League game.

Back in my bedroom, I was listening intently as Gordon was talking about the historical significance of what was happening. I didn’t know that much about hockey or masks but I did know enough to realize that the first goaltender ever to wear a mask in a game was a big deal. Big enough to yell to my dad that he need to come upstairs right away.

My father loved hockey. He grew up in Brooklyn and played high school hockey. He was also a short track speed skater and had won a number of medals in Sliver Skates competition at Madison Square Garden. His love of hockey is how I was exposed to the game at such a young age and came to be such a passionate fan.

Dad came up and sat on the end of my bed as we listened to history being made. My father was a big talker and what I remember is that on this night is how quiet he was. Reflecting back, I know that it surely was important.

Plante, repaired with 7 stitches and still wearing his bloody jersey came back and played. And he played well. The Canadians built a 3-0 lead and long after I fell asleep; they gave up a meaningless goal to Camille Henry. Hockey had been changed forever.

Simple flat face protectors soon gave away to oversized masks that protected much more of the head and throat area. Ultimately, the form fitting mask was phased out in favor of today’s helmet mask that covers the goaltenders entire head and allows them excellent vision through a caged eye opening.

Over the next 15 years, every goaltender in the league began to wear a mask. On April 7, 1974, Andy Brown was the last NHL goaltender to appear in a game without a mask. Now the thought of playing goal without a mask is incomprehensible.

At the time, I didn’t know enough about hockey to understand what this all meant or how it would change the game forever. But what I do remember is what I said to my father when Plante came back wearing the mask. “The Rangers (who were a very bad team in the late 1950s) are going to win for sure” or something close to that, I told my father. He replied, “I wouldn’t be so sure”.

bobbop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-01-2009, 02:43 AM
  #2
Shadowrunner
Registered User
 
Shadowrunner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: New York City
Posts: 1,200
vCash: 500
Send a message via ICQ to Shadowrunner Send a message via AIM to Shadowrunner
Great story. When you old timers come out and share something like this with us youngins, I remember why I come to this board.

Shadowrunner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-01-2009, 03:22 AM
  #3
hpNYR
HF Forecaster
 
hpNYR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Burbank, CA
Country: Armenia
Posts: 7,100
vCash: 500
The crazy part is he wore the mask a day after Halloween. People at the garden thought it was a Halloween joke a day after. However, it lead to new things.

hpNYR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-01-2009, 05:05 AM
  #4
NYR Lunchbox
Registered User
 
NYR Lunchbox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New Jersey
Country: United States
Posts: 576
vCash: 500
bobbop thanks for a great story i enjoyed it. makes me wish i was alive to enjoy the grand old days of the original 6 days

NYR Lunchbox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-01-2009, 12:32 PM
  #5
PMNEWYORK
Registered User
 
PMNEWYORK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: New York City
Country: United States
Posts: 1,392
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbop View Post
November 1, 1959 is the date of my first and grandest hockey memory.

I was all of 7 years old and on this Sunday school night I was in bed with my radio tuned to a New York Rangers hockey game. The Rangers were playing the Stanley Cup Champion Montreal Canadians and I had recently discovered hockey on radio. It was my bed time but I’m sure I intended to listen for at least a period. Jim Gordon, who became all-time favorite hockey announcer, was calling the game.

Then the unthinkable happened.

Andy Bathgate, the star of the New York Rangers lifted a backhand shot into the unprotected face of Montreal goaltender Jacques Plante. Plante was badly cut and left the ice for repairs. In this era, National League teams only carried one goaltender. If a netminder was injured, the game was stopped until the player could be stitched up. If the goaltender could not continue, a house goaltender (usually an amateur player) or a team trainer would be pressed into action.

Plante was hockey’s premier goaltender of the 1950s. He was coming off his 4th straight Stanley Cup championship (heading towards his 5th) and his play had revolutionized the game. He was also eccentric and moody. And he was about to change the game in a way he could never imagine.

Plante had been practicing with a mask and had vowed to start wearing it in games. Montreal coach Toe Blake was adamantly opposed to Plante’s mask. On this night though, Plante said he would not return to the game without his protective mask. Blake objected, but eventually relented. Jacques Plante was about to become the first goaltender to wear a full face mask in a National Hockey League game.

Back in my bedroom, I was listening intently as Gordon was talking about the historical significance of what was happening. I didn’t know that much about hockey or masks but I did know enough to realize that the first goaltender ever to wear a mask in a game was a big deal. Big enough to yell to my dad that he need to come upstairs right away.

My father loved hockey. He grew up in Brooklyn and played high school hockey. He was also a short track speed skater and had won a number of medals in Sliver Skates competition at Madison Square Garden. His love of hockey is how I was exposed to the game at such a young age and came to be such a passionate fan.

Dad came up and sat on the end of my bed as we listened to history being made. My father was a big talker and what I remember is that on this night is how quiet he was. Reflecting back, I know that it surely was important.

Plante, repaired with 7 stitches and still wearing his bloody jersey came back and played. And he played well. The Canadians built a 3-0 lead and long after I fell asleep; they gave up a meaningless goal to Camille Henry. Hockey had been changed forever.

Simple flat face protectors soon gave away to oversized masks that protected much more of the head and throat area. Ultimately, the form fitting mask was phased out in favor of today’s helmet mask that covers the goaltenders entire head and allows them excellent vision through a caged eye opening.

Over the next 15 years, every goaltender in the league began to wear a mask. On April 7, 1974, Andy Brown was the last NHL goaltender to appear in a game without a mask. Now the thought of playing goal without a mask is incomprehensible.

At the time, I didn’t know enough about hockey to understand what this all meant or how it would change the game forever. But what I do remember is what I said to my father when Plante came back wearing the mask. “The Rangers (who were a very bad team in the late 1950s) are going to win for sure” or something close to that, I told my father. He replied, “I wouldn’t be so sure”.
Thank yu for sharing this memory with us. It's great to hear these stories and to understand our love for this wonderful sport.

PMNEWYORK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-01-2009, 02:38 PM
  #6
Blue Regime
Registered User
 
Blue Regime's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Groton, CT
Country: United States
Posts: 711
vCash: 500
LOL they just mentioned this on the radio broadcast.

Blue Regime is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-02-2009, 03:37 AM
  #7
danno2530
 
danno2530's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Country: United States
Posts: 6,453
vCash: 500
Send a message via Yahoo to danno2530
Awesome story. I remember Andy Bathgate talking about it around the time of his ceremony earlier this year. Gotta love the Original 6 days.

danno2530 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-02-2009, 05:42 AM
  #8
r21g
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 11
vCash: 500
Thats an awesome story! Normally I don't have the attention span to read long posts but I really liked that one.

r21g is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-02-2009, 06:11 AM
  #9
Chimp
Registered User
 
Chimp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: In my food garden.
Country: Sweden
Posts: 10,486
vCash: 500
Yeah, thanks for the sharing of the story, really appreciate it. It almost feels incomprehensible how goalies could play goal without face protection, or even players without helmet for that matter. But I guess if you don't hit your opponents as violently as today, you're mostly fine.

The invention of the slapshot surely forced some added protection to the participants, especially the goalis.

In another 10-15 years, it will feel incomprehensible how players could play without a visor, risking serious career ending eye injuries.

Chimp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-02-2009, 10:37 AM
  #10
Bluenote13
Believe In Henke
 
Bluenote13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: BKLYN, NYC
Posts: 23,764
vCash: 500
Great stuff Bob

Bluenote13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-03-2009, 11:56 AM
  #11
HatTrick Swayze
Tomato Potato
 
HatTrick Swayze's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: NJ
Country: United States
Posts: 9,564
vCash: 500
great story

__________________
"Here we can see the agression of american people. They love fighting and guns. when they wont win they try to kill us all." -HalfOfFame
HatTrick Swayze is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-03-2009, 12:04 PM
  #12
RegalRangers
Registered User
 
RegalRangers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Country: United States
Posts: 1,453
vCash: 783
Yeah very much appreciated.

RegalRangers is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Forum Jump


Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:48 AM.

monitoring_string = "e4251c93e2ba248d29da988d93bf5144"
Contact Us - HFBoards - Archive - Privacy Statement - Terms of Use - Advertise - Top - AdChoices

vBulletin Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
HFBoards.com is a property of CraveOnline Media, LLC, an Evolve Media, LLC company. ©2014 All Rights Reserved.