Hockey Headlines

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Two Are Better Than One

I was looking for some information last weekend about Cesare Maniago when I discovered the image above on the Classic Auctions site. Pictured is Maniago's uniform from the 1977-78 season, and, as you can see, it has TWO tie-downs! This is the first time I've actually seen a jersey with two tie-downs!

Of course, the tie-downs or fight straps would be attached to the pants at the back so that Maniago's jersey couldn't be pulled off his body. Maniago wasn't a fighter, though, so the only thing the tie-downs were doing was holding his jersey in place while he saved pucks. In any case, I hadn't seen the double tie-down in my life, and I've now seen at least a photo of them existing.

You might be asking why I was hunting down information on Maniago. Reader and HBIC friend Tim B. brought something to my attention that I hadn't seen ever in my life. As you may be aware, the NHL mandated in 1977 that names appear on the backs of jerseys for all players in the NHL. What I didn't know is that the Canucks wore contrasting name bars on the back of their uniforms!
That picture was taken on November 2, 1977 and features two pretty unique features. Obviously, the first is that the Canucks are wearing the contrasting name bars, but the second feature is that they are playing the Toronto Maple Leafs who are not wearing names across their backs at all!

The Leafs simply wouldn't acquiesce to the idea of wearing names early in the 1977-78 season, but I can't find any information on why the Canucks wore contrasting name bars on their uniforms. I also can't find when they started wearing the contrasting name bars (I assume it was the start of the season), if they wore contrasting name bars on the road, or when they stopped wearing contrasting name bars. Online newspaper archives are incomplete, and it appears no one has kept a record of this uniform change electronically.

Luckily, YouTube had one video of the Canucks playing against the Rangers on November 20, 1977. Well, it isn't the two teams playing as much as it is them brawling as Nick Fotiu and Jack McIlhargey throw haymakers for the entire clip.
If you notice, the Rangers are wearing blue names on their white jerseys while the Canucks are wearing white names on their green jerseys. That helps us in nailing down some information about the road uniforms, but it doesn't give us the full picture.

So readers, I ask you: do any of you have more information or picture evidence of this contrasting name bar phenomenon worn by the Canucks? Tim and I would like to figure out when the Canucks stopped using the green name bars on the white uniforms so we can lay this mystery to rest!

In most cases, two heads are better than one. In this case, we can use as many people as we can get to solve this mystery!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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