March 29, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; A Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs fan during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre. Philadelphia defeated Toronto 7-1. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Hockey Sweater

Here is a little nostalgia for many a hockey fan I’m sure. If you grew up loving the sport like I did, then there is probably a good chance you have read The Hockey Sweater. It was my favorite book as a child and really introduced me to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens rivalry for the first time. The story has become a very important piece of literature in Canada and it was even made into a short animated film in 1980. If you are unfamiliar with the story or just need a little refresher, here is a quick summary.

The Hockey Sweater is written by Roch Carrier and based on something that happened in his childhood. As a child growing up in Quebec in the 1940’s, Carrier was a huge Montreal Canadiens and Maurice “Rocket” Richard fan. When his beloved Habs jersey wears out, his mom sends away for a new one from the Eaton’s catalogue. Only the sweater that arrives is that of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not wanting to offend Mr. Eaton or let Carrier wear his beat up Canadiens jersey, his mom forces him to put on the Leafs sweater for a game of hockey with his friends at the rink. Needless to say he is ridiculed and ultimately lashes out in anger. Carrier then heads to church for guidance where he prays for moths to come and destroy his new sweater.

I’m not sure if kids still read these days with all the video games and technology available, but The Hockey Sweater is a must for any youngster. And what better time than now with all the nonsense that is going on with the lockout. Although, with how the Leafs and Canadiens did last year, you may be hard pressed to find anyone that wants to be seen in public with either jersey.

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