"The Hockey Sweater"
Roch Carrier's quintessential Canadian/Canadien story is not really a Christmas story , but it could be. It is a seasonal story. It has become a Canadian classic. I share it here with my non- Canadians readers. If you are a Canadian and don't know this charming story. . . shame on you.
I was thinking about this topic when I got an email from my Venezuealan email pal , Elsa, so I sent it along to her with this explanation,"I have been thinking about writing a blog entry about Roch Carrier's classic Canadian story, "The Hockey Sweater." It is so very Canadian. First it is about hockey and our obsession with this game. It is about young boys , and now girls, playing on outdoor rinks. Before the expansion of the professional league there were only two Canadian teams, Toronto Maple Leafs and Montréal Canadiens. The rivalry was intense and Saturday Night was" Hockey Night in Canada" around the radio or later TV. The story is set in rural Quebec with the dominance of the Catholic Church and the family . For years, the mail order catalogue of Easton's department store sold everything across the country to rural people, by mail. There was always a very personal and trusting relationship between the store and it's clients. It was a great institution; sadly, no longer with us. The catalogue's last use was often to start the wood stove or as toilet paper in the outhouse. Children in families of modest means used the catalogue, stuffed in their hockey socks as hockey protective shin pads. The great French Canadian player back in my youth was "Maurice Richard", The Rocket.,the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games. He was much admired in English Canada but in French Canada he was the symbol of French nationalism and pride, who regularly out played "the English". Once when he was penalized it caused the imfamous Richard Riot in Montréal.. (In those days, virtually all the Montréal players were French from Quebec.)"
All of this Canadian cultural texture is captured in Roch Carrier's story "The Hockey Sweater". Here is a version of it
in the form of an animated film by the National Film Board Play films - Focus on Animation - ONF
It is Rock Carrier narrating the story, in his charming French Canadien accent.
I hope you take the time to watch the animated film and get in the Winter spirit.
In the spirit of hockey these words of encouragement for the new year, "Keep your sticks on the ice!" and "Finish the check!" (Like baseball, hockey is a metaphor for Life)
Maurice "The Rocket" Richard with Lord Stanley's cup