The first goalie mask
Canadiens fans will be gutted to find out that Jacques Plante was not the first NHL goalie to wear a mask in a game. Clint Benedict, backstop for the Habs’ cross-town rival Maroons, played five games with a series of Texas Chainsaw Massacre-style face-guards in 1930, preceding Plante by 29 years. One of his masks is behind glass the Hockey Hall of Fame. But the one from the iconic photograph is still out there, waiting to be snatched up by a loyal fan.
The stick(s) that launched a riot!
We all know the story. On March 17, 1955, a mob of people from Montreal smoke-bombed the Forum and took to the streets to avenge the suspension of Maurice Richard. But the incident that lead to that suspension, and ultimately sparked the Richard Riots, was a serious tomahawking that the Rocket gave then Bruin, Hal Laycoe. After getting high-sticked, Richard broke one stick, then another, and another over Laycoe’s back before punching an intervening referee. Sadly, those splintered remnants of hockey’s most incendiary night have been lost to history. Or, more likely, a dumpster behind the Forum. Although, the memory remains.
Punch Imlach’s Lucky Lid
While leading the Toronto Maple Leafs to four Stanley Cups in six years, Coach and GM Punch Imlach was never without his trademark fedora. Whether it really brought him success or just covered up his bald patch, the hat stayed with Imlach through two decades of coaching the Leafs, Sabres and, eventually, the Leafs again. Imlach’s return to Toronto proved unsuccessful, but the hat was, and is still, a reminder of those early glory days.
Roger Neilson’s Powerful Towel
Losing 3-1 to the Blackhawks and frustrated by one-sided officiating, Canucks coach Roger Neilson “surrendered” Game 2 of the 1982 conference finals by waving a white towel at the end of a player’s stick. Neilson was chucked out of the game, but his stunt rallied Vancouver to a series win. “Towel Power” has since become a staple of Canuck playoff games, as fans wave their team to victory with their own white towels. The Neilson original has long since disappeared into a laundry hamper somewhere, but would make a great, and unusual, addition to any collection.
Paul Henderson’s Game-Winning Jersey
Unlike the other items on this list, the jersey Henderson wore when he scored the winning goal of the 1972 Summit Series is not exactly a lost treasure. Everyone knows where it is. It just is not easy to get your hands on. In 2010, an Ontario real-estate developer bought it for over $1 million USD, making it the most expensive hockey jersey ever sold. The money is impressive, but it’s for purely patriotic reasons that this jersey is one of our most desired pieces of hockey memorabilia. To relive Henderson's epic goal, check out the video below.