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March 8, 2011

Ice Hockey In The Fifties

By Sablemable aka Jan

What a great time it was to be a fan of ice hockey in the Fifties!  There were only six teams to cheer for and plenty of excitement.   The top three teams were the Montreal Canadiens, the Deroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs.  No helmets, no face masks.

 The teams played in arenas like The Forum, Olympia Stadium and Boston Gardens and they were always packed.  With the exception of Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, all of the rinks have been demolished.  Boooooooo!

OLYMPIA STADIUM, HOME OF THE DETROIT RED WINGS

THE FORUM IN MONTREAL, QUEBEC

A VACANT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS

 

 

Everyone knew all of the players names and all of the stars of the ice.  The Red Wings had Gordie Howe (later to be nicknamed Mr. Hockey) on right wing.

NUMBER 9 GORDIE HOWE

In the early Fifties, Howe, along with center Sid Abel and Ted “Terrible Ted” Lindsey on left wing were known as The Production Line.  The three produced as many goals as the Ford Motor Company did cars.

On the Canadiens team, there was Maurice “The Rocket” Richard on right wing,  and center Jean “Le Gros Bill”  Beliveau racking up points.  They were also  joined by Bernie “Boom-Boom” Geoffrion, whose nickname came into being because his shots resounded like a cannon when the puck hit the boards.  Boom, boom.  And on defense, possibly the best defenseman ever was Doug Harvey.

MAURICE RICHARD

 

JEAN BELIVEAU

 

 

BERNIE GEOFFRION

 

DOUG HARVEY

 

The goaltender for the Canadiens was Jacques Plante, who perfected the face mask.   After an injury during a game in 1959, Plante refused to return to the game unless he could wear his mask.  The rest is history.

JACQUES PLANTE BEFORE THE MASK

 

AND AFTER

 

Hockey has always been criticized for being too violent, but a few fisticuffs never hurt the game.

And what did all of this skating, puck shooting and fighting get the players?  Why, the Stanley Cup, of course!  During the Fifties, Montreal won the Cup five times, the Red Wings four and Toronto once.

MAURICE RICHARD AND JEAN BELIVEAU HOLDING THE STANLEY CUP

 

 Now with so many teams due to expansion, I hardly know one from the other, but all fans no matter their age know of this era and it was the best of times.  Hooray for hockey from the Fifties!!!!

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10 Responses to Ice Hockey In The Fifties

  1. ModernSuzie Reply

    March 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Nice post 🙂 Go Habs Go!

  2. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    March 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    I know nothing about hockey but thank goodness that ole Jacques came up with that face mask idea!

  3. Emily Catherine Reply

    March 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Wow, great post! I love hockey, but strangely enough had never really considered the history of the sport before now… thanks!

  4. Andrea Reply

    March 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Love this post! I am a big hockey fan – we are Edmonton Oilers season ticket holders.

    We also have a collection of mid-century hockey memorabilia, but older, from the 30s and 40s. This is because my husband’s grandfather was a goalie for the Detroit Red Wings (won the cup with them) and the New York Americans.

  5. sablemable Reply

    March 8, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Andreaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!! I knew you’d be a hockey fan, my Canadian neighbor! Who was your hubby’s grandfather? OMG, I can’t wait to tell my brother about that! I, of course, am a devoted Red Wings fan. Do they still have Hockey Night In Canada? We could pick up the broadcast, only not Toronto but the Canadiens and in French, no less! That’s what prompted me to study French, LOL!

  6. Andrea Reply

    March 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Saaable! My hubby’s grandfather was Earl Robertson – he was in goal when Detroit won the cup in ’37. Here’s a link to his stats: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=16897

    Yes, they do still have Hockey Night In Canada – however, a couple of years ago, the CBC was too cheap to pay for the rights to the theme again – so another network, TSN now has the song! That is really cool that hockey was what prompted you to study French!

  7. sablemable Reply

    March 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Andreaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! Yes, I’ve heard of Earl Robertson! And thanks for the link!

  8. RetroRuth Reply

    March 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Excellent post, Jan! I adore Gordie Howe! “Strap on your skates, Gordie, you’re going in!”

  9. Lorie B. Reply

    March 9, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Wow! My cousin is named after Gordie Howe. Except my cousind Gordie was an awesome football player. I guess growing up in Kentucky kinda let the air out of playing hockey. LOL

  10. sablemable Reply

    March 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Gang, I’m actually pleasantly surprised that so many of you liked the post! I haven’t watched a game in years due to all of the expansion, but I have very fond memories of Dad taking me and my brother to Detroit’s Olympia Stadium to see the Wings play. This was before the first expansion and it was great! We could only get standing-room-only tickets, but we were young and could stand for hours!

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