My good friend Jeff Barak asked that I take some time and dig into the archives at HBIC Headquarters so he could put to rest an emerging mystery that seems to be developing. Jeff, as you may know, is the writer of the Third String Goalie blog - a fantastic jersey-of-the-day blog - and he's discovered that this white sweater may not be entirely accurate.
Here's what Jeff wrote in his email today.
Similar to Russ Boychuk's "Hunting the Last Hamilton Tiger" project in which he is looking for a Hamilton Tigers jersey, I'm on a similar quest.
I'm looking for documentation of a white Montreal Canadiens 1911-12 sweater and hope you can help.
To date, I have found no photographic evidence of this exact sweater with the diagonal sash. I have looked online and through my many books, magazines,various web sites as well as many auctions for sweaters, photos and hockey cards.
So far, the only image I have been able to find is also on the Canadiens history web site, that having been worn by "part-time" player Hector Dallaire, as seen below.
As you can plainly see, this image does not agree with the illustration, as there are no diagonal stripes on the jersey in the photo, and the illustration does not show the stripes around the neck.
Additionally, I have a hard time believing that if such a sweater were actually worn by the Canadiens for a full season, there are no photos of early Canadiens legends Jack Laviolette, Didier Pitre or Georges Vezina wearing such a sweater, since the ones they wore just prior and just following this one have been well documented in photographs, hockey cards and illustrations, all of which you can see in my article.
Have you ever seen it before? Would you have any history books which might have a different photo of it?
I have skimmed through a number of books that deal in the history of the Canadiens, and I found no images nor any references to a white sweater. I searched a number of the team's biggest stars from that era - Sprague Cleghorn, Joe Hall, Aurel Joliat, and Sylvio Mantha amongst others - and turned up a grand total of zero images. There are references online about it, but no one has provided photographic evidence aside from Jeff's image above.
And that, readers, is where you can make a difference. Perhaps you know more than what we have found. Perhaps you have photos we haven't seen. Perhaps you live in Montreal and can run this by someone at the Canadiens office. In any case, Jeff and I would like your help.
If you can, post any findings here that CONFIRM one of the two photos above. Alternatively, if you have a site that describes the sweaters worn by the 1911-12 Canadiens, post those findings as well. The key in this is that photographic evidence goes a lot further than some write-up on a website. I know Jeff and I are asking a lot, but this is a mystery we'd like to see solved.
You should definitely head over to the Third String Goalie blog and read Jeff's findings as well. He's done a fantastic job in looking at the history of the early sweaters of the Canadiens, and he deserves a click and a read.
Post your findings here or on the Third String Goalie blog, and I'd be happy to credit all findings!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!