Eddie Giroux, first goalie to wear a mask?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Sanf, Nov 17, 2013.

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  1. Sanf

    Sanf Registered User

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    Couple of weeks ago I was going around newspaperarchives and found bit of goaltender trivia.

    The Montreal Gazette - Dec 18, 1903
    I looked bit further that story. In Ottawa Citizen there was story about Toronto Marlboros public training were they mentions this.

    Ottawa Citizen - Dec 16, 1903
    Of course the story doesn´t tell was it actually Giroux who experimented with the mask (Toronto newspaperarchives gives hits from that winter with searches but I don´t have access to those). Allthough I do believe that is impossible to know who was the first to use "mask". I believe that as long as there is hockey played there has been various experiments with different kind of protections, but that might be the first time when "high profile" goaltender was seariously playing with the idea of wearing some sort of face/head protector in top level games.

    Eddie Giroux

    1903-1904 Toronto Marlboros
    OHA senior champion
    Stanley cup challenge with Marlboros
    Toronto East vs. West All Star game (corrected from OHA all star game)

    1904-1905 Rat Portage Thistles
    Manitoba hockey association champion
    Stanley cup challenge with Thistles

    1905-1906 Kenora Thistles
    MHA champion

    1906-1907 Kenora Thistles
    Manitoba Professional Hockey League champion
    Stanley Cup winner with Thistles

    Wikipedia article mentions that after that he retired. I do believe that he continued his career because there was goaltender Eddie Giroux playing in Ottawa city leagues after that. He was at one point considered to the job for the Ottawa Hockey Club CHA/NHA team goaltender.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  2. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Well thats certainly an interesting find. Most accounts state that a female player by the name of Elizabeth Graham while playing for the Queens University Womens Team in 1927 was the first. She'd apparently recently undergone dental work & donned a fencers mask.... 1930 Clint Benedict wearing a sort of half mask dealeo after suffering an injury for a couple of games... 1936 Olympics Japanese Goalie Teiji Honma.... 1959 Jacques Plante.... looks they may have to re-write the history books based on your discovery there Sanf. Good job!... and helmets as well, they were in use very early but discarded. Interesting history attached to that piece of equipment.
     
  3. Sanf

    Sanf Registered User

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    Well there is no mention that he actually used it in game. The second article is from practice session and there is no mention in that about the baseball mask. Should had put the links in the OP it might be bit misleading. So I don´t know if that really counts. But yeah it was long before the known cases of using mask.


    Montreal Gazette
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=rksuAAAAIBAJ&sjid=zH4FAAAAIBAJ&pg=5453%2C5891786

    Ottawa Citizen (F.Mclaren with marlboros)
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=aWEuAAAAIBAJ&sjid=9dgFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3095%2C8077557
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013
  4. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Well, its certainly interesting as it begs the question "why"? Why would he feel he needed one at all? Raising the puck on a shot back then, wasnt really all that common beyond a few inches, couple of feet, maybe roofing it in close. Of course deflections could occur that would send the puck head-high and maybe some reckless stick work but still. The puck wasnt exactly traveling at super sonic speeds. Maybe he'd gotten injured like Benedict though no mention of it. I personally started playing goal when masks were first mandated & coached by guys who'd never worn one through the 30's to early 60's. Its hard for people to grasp at times, seems almost suicidal, but the fact was you really didnt think about it. Wasnt really until the advent and wide use of the slapshot (Bathgate one of the earliest to deploy that weapon on a regular basis, one of his shots that cut Plante open in 59 ushering in the era of the mask) & the curve (Banana Blade's in particular) that full face protection became pretty much a prerequisite. Tempting fate if not downright foolish not to play with a mask.
     
  5. Sanf

    Sanf Registered User

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    Injury was my first guess too but I didn´t find anything about it. If I have understand correct seasons weren´t even started at that point. This was very early in Giroux career he was only 20 years old. Came from OHA intermediate champions to Senior level.

    Also I didn´t not found any mentions from later part on his career about wearing any head protection. Archives from Toronto newspapers might have some more answers.
     
  6. Sanf

    Sanf Registered User

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    Old thread, but bit of new information. Just noticed that Eric Zweig has done more extensive research on this matter and it seem that my educated guess was right and it really was Eddie Giroux who did those mask experiments. So Clint Benedict wasn´t the first SC winning goalie with mask experiments. And the reason was injury.

    But the name of the thread is wrong though. In the thread First Recorded Moments in Hockey - Timeline it is mentioned that Edgar Hiscock probably used one in 1899.

    Great article about the early hockey mask history
    http://ericzweig.com/2015/03/11/about-face/

    Personally I have seen 4 (or 5) different cases (+2 researched by others) before the Elizabeth Grahams game.

    He also mentions about the NHA considering to make masks mandatory as early as 1912. I have seen few articles from that too and here is Percy LeSueurs opinion. Sadly I have lost the date, but the original source is The Ottawa Journal from february 1912

     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015
  7. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    ^^^ very interesting, and great article. The first mask I ever used was a baseball catchers
    in the early 60's so ya, they were even then still in use,in service on the ice as well as the diamond.

    Also mention of the Louch Shield,a picture floating around here somewhere of Johnny Bower in one....
    Essentially a clear lexan visor,like a welders mask almost in shape & fit. Just hung there. Very strange.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015
  8. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    The first form-fitting mask, Plante, 1959.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. iamjs

    iamjs Unregistered User

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    [​IMG]

    Looks like Bower used it in practice for several years, but the Delbert Louch shield never made it into an NHL game.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=0...v=onepage&q=Louch Shield Johnny Bower&f=false
     
  10. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    ^^^ thanks for digging that up iamjs. I vaguely remember seeing them in sporting goods stores way back when and remember being amused. Very retro bit of kit from the atomic age.... Years later in beer league I donned a full face mask like that playing forward & man, full visor (mandatory unfortunately) & you could barely breathe, like being locked in a sauna, had no feel for where things were at, your surroundings. Very odd as to look at it youd figure great idea, no blind spots, no problems.
     
  11. iamjs

    iamjs Unregistered User

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    I'm not sure if I'm just seeing the lacing on the jersey, but did that mask tie down onto the lacing so it wouldn't flop like a welder's mask?
     
  12. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    ^^^ Cant recall if there was like a rope attached from the chin for the purpose you suggest or not... or perhaps sort of like a hat if you wanted to take it off and just let it hang all cool like or what huh? Yes. Very fashionable. Or a safety precaution so you wont lose it in a wind mebbe... But no, I reckon thats just Johnny's jersey tie down you see there.... Anyhoo, Louch of St. Marys' Ontario also had a couple of other models as I recall, hard plastic or fiberglass masks more akin to form~fitting. One in particular that was kinda nuts as there was no protection over the bridge of the nose with fairly large cut outs for the eyes. Some of the early masks, just crazy. Even that early Lefty Wilson ~ Sawchuk model that so many used well into the 60's when better models were available (like the Plante Pretzel for eg). Just nothing to Lefty's masks whatsoever really.... The other real weakness to equipment back then being arm & outside shoulder (not covered by the chest protector) pads. Just essentially quilted cotton sleeves. Blockers & Trappers "different" to put it mildly until advancements made by primarily Cooper-Weeks and D&R.
     

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