Sunday, 5 July 2009
Discovered Hockey Archive Footage Online
Yesterday I was reading D'Arcy Jenish's great history of the Montreal Canadiens, "The Montreal Canadiens: 100 Years of Glory" (you can expect a book review when I'm finished, but so far I'm really enjoying it). I got the part when in 1945 during a playoff match between the Canadiens and the Leafs, Maurice "Rocket" Richard scored a dramatic winning goal and fans got so excited they threw everything they could find on the ice: hats, pennies, fruit, bottles, programmes and even something called toe rubbers (I've looked it up and they're rubber casings people used to put over their shoes to protect them in the winter snow and slush).
I started thinking how amazing it would have been to have been there when Maurice Richard scored that goal; to have heard the cheers, seen the chaos on the ice, smelled the smoke and booze of the Forum at that time, ducked those toe rubbers... So I thought I'd have a look and see if there was any footage of hockey at that time. Though I didn't have much luck on youtube, I discovered a wonderful cache of archive hockey footage on the CBC Archives site.
The site is run by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and funded by the Canadian government. It contains a huge number of radio, television, text and photographic archives of Canada's political, cultural and sports history. In the sports section, there is an entire site dedicated to hockey.
Sadly, I couldn't find the desired Rocket footage, because the CBC only began to televise hockey games in 1952, just a few years after that crazy night.
However, I was able to watch other great footage of Richard from the era and listened to some great radio interviews, including one with Gretzky, Richard and Gretzky's dad on him scoring 50 goals in 39 games.
The CBC Archive footage is available over internet anywhere in the world, so please check it out http://archives.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/