Tag Archives: Roch Carrier

Leo Loves His Team

This photo is like a real life version of Roch Carrier’s classic book ‘The Sweater’. I wonder if they all have number 9 on their backs.

The boy in the middle, in his street clothes, is Leo Brosseau. Leo grew up in Quebec in the 1930s and ’40s before moving west to Powell River to work in the mill and marry a local girl. He’s been here ever since.

He wasn’t able to play with his team for a while because of a broken arm so he became assistant coach to the coach/priest. That’s the priest in the back.

Leo is 84 now and long retired, he beat cancer after telling his doctors to shove their chemo, and for years has flown back to Montreal to see a game, sometimes more than once. And next February he’s off to Las Vegas to see his Habs clash with the Golden Knights!

Leo’s loved his team for almost 80 years. Another Stanley Cup would be nice.


A Hundred Million Moths Is A Lot

Very sorry to do this to Roch Carrier’s The Sweater, the classic story of a kid in rural Quebec in the 1940’s who was sent a Toronto Maple Leaf sweater by mistake after his Rocket Richard one had seen better days.

I remember very well the winter of 2012. We all wore the same uniform as Scott Gomez, the red, white and blue uniform of the Montreal Canadiens, the 15th best hockey team in the Eastern Division. We all shaved our heads like Scott Gomez. We missed the net like Scott Gomez. We laughed and spit like Scott Gomez. Truly, we knew everything there was to know about him.

On the ice, when the referee blew his whistle the two teams would rush at the puck; we were five Scott Gomez’ against five other Scott Gomez’. We were ten players all wearing the uniform of the Montreal Canadiens, all with the same burning enthusiasm. We all wore the famous number 11 on our backs.

One day, my Montreal Canadiens sweater was too small for me, and it was ripped in several places. My mother said: “If you wear that old sweater, people are going to think we’re at the lower end of the middle-income group.”

Then she did what she did whenever we needed new clothes. She went online.

After remembering her password, which she always forgot, and filling out her information, she wrote in the comments section; “Dear Sweaters ‘R You. Would you be so kind to send me a hockey sweater for my son, who is ten years old and a little bit tall for his age? Doctor Robitaille thinks he is a little too thin. Enclosed is my PayPal information. I hope your packing will be better than it was last time.”

Two weeks later we received the sweater. They had sent the brick red, desert sand, and black sweater of the Phoenix Coyotes. With tears in my eyes, I found the strength to say: “I’ll never wear that.” My mother sighed in despair. “Sweaters ‘R You will be insulted,” she said. So I had to wear the Phoenix Coyotes sweater.

Game day came and I jumped onto the ice. My moment had come! The referee blew his whistle and gave me a penalty. He said there were already five players on the ice. That was too much! It was too unfair! “This is persecution” I shouted. “It’s just because of my brick red, desert sand, and black sweater. I crashed my titanium junior composite stick against the ice so hard it broke. I bent down to pick up the pieces, and when I got up, the young priest, on skates, was standing in front of me.

“My child,” he said. “Just because you’re wearing a new Phoenix Coyotes sweater and not a Scott Gomez sweater doesn’t mean you’re going to make the laws around here. A good boy never loses his temper. Take off your skates and go to the church and ask God to forgive you.”

Wearing my Phoenix Coyotes sweater I went to the church, where I prayed to God. I asked Him to send me right away, a hundred million moths that would eat up my Phoenix Coyotes sweater.

But then I realized that they’re not even wool sweaters anymore, they’re jerseys made of polyester, and a hundred million moths wouldn’t be interested anyway. So that was the end of that.

Here’s the real thing:

Monsieur Eaton

Old man Eaton outfitted kids for decades, including Roch Carrier in “The Hockey Sweater” from the 1940s – “Dear Monsieur Eaton, would you be so kind as to send me a Canadiens’ hockey sweater for my son, Roch, who is ten years old and a little bit tall for his age? Docteur Robitaille thinks he is a little thin. I am sending you three dollars. Please send me the change if there is any. I hope your packing will be better than it was last time.”

Eaton’s were selling Habs and Leaf kids sweaters back in the days of Morenz and Joliat, and carried through to the nineties when the company finally called it quits. A history of this Canadian institution can be seen at http://www.eatons.com/ if you’re interested.

These ads below are from the 1970s. I really like the first one.

In Search Of The Holy Grail

This little card is an ad for a dinner and auction sponsored by Classic Auctions in February of 2008 in support of the Jean Beliveau Foundation, which helps disabled children throughout the province of Quebec.

It goes without saying just how much I admire Mr. Beliveau and all he is and does, but today’s post is strictly about the picture itself.

I collect old Canadiens sweaters from years gone by, mostly children sizes, and have about 15 of them. It’s sort of a childhood memory thing. But the one the boy in the picture is wearing is the one I’ve been looking for for a long time.

For me, this is the Holy Grail of Habs kids sweaters. It’s from the mid to late 1920’s, when Morenz, Joliat, Mantha, and Hainsworth took to the ice, and this boy’s mom probably paid a buck or two of her hard-earned money for it through the catalogue or local general store. This also predates Roch Carrier’s “The Hockey Sweater” by about 20 years.

I once wrote the Juteau brothers at Classic Collectables and asked them if they see this type of sweater at all nowadays, and the answer was rarely if at all. But I’ll just keep an eye out anyway. Who knows?

Hey Gord, Your Canucks Are Simply Too Friggin’ Fantastic For Words

The following are excerpts from an article in Tuesday’s Vancouver Province, written by sports writer Gordon McIntyre. Big words from a guy whose favourite team hasn’t won a thing in 40 years of existence.

It’s titled “What Happened To Proud CH?” And subtitled “Habs are on downward slide, so will Canucks play down there too?”

“Maybe Roch Carrier is at this moment penning a new sequel to The Hockey Sweater, a new book about a crest-fallen Quebec boy whose mom accidentally orders a Canadiens jersey from craigslist instead of the Senators sweater he dreamed of.

The original title of Carrier’s classic novella translates as “An abominable Maple Leaf on the ice,” and at the rate his beloved Habs are going that famous ‘CH’ is getting awfully close to abominability territory too.”

“Scott Gomez, who scrapes by on $8 million US a season, has seven goals. Brian Gionta, who makes $5 million, fares a bit better with 14 goals, but Bob Gainey’s master scheme to acquire players who he thought could sneak between opposing defencemen’s legs isn’t panning out.”

“There’s a goaltending controversy, floaters are floating, the defence, outside of Andrei Markov, is a patchwork of No. 5 and No. 6 guys.”

“The one thing going for the Canadiens tonight is the Canucks manage to play down to the league’s lesser lights.”

A Chance To Buy Original Artwork From ‘The Hockey Sweater’

For a limited time Sheldon Cohen, the animator behind Roch Carrier’s THE HOCKEY SWEATER is offering original production art for purchase on his website:
THE HOCKEY SWEATER has been around for a very long time – 30 years to be exact. A great number of people from across the country have expressed to me how touched they are by Roch Carrier’s short story – as hockey fans, as readers, as animation buffs, and most of all, as Canadians.

For those of you who may wish to share in the film’s legacy, Sheldon has chosen just under a hundred pieces of original artwork from his personal collection to share with avid collectors. The majority of production art is archived at the National Film Board of Canada, leaving only this limited amount for public access.

Please note that the artwork in it will no longer be posted in the New Year 2010 






Jumping Out Of The Pages Of ‘The Sweater.’ Leo Likes His Habs.

The young boy in the middle, in his steet clothes, is Leo Brosseau. Leo grew up in Quebec in the 1930’s and ’40’s before moving west to Powell River to work in the mill and marry a local girl. He’s been here ever since.


He wasn’t able to play with his team for a while because of a broken arm so he became assistant coach to the coach/priest. That’s the priest in the back.


Leo, of course, is retired now, has recently beaten cancer, and every few years flies back to Montreal to see a game. He never fails to tell me what the team needs to do to improve. Leo knows his hockey.


This photo is a a real life version of Roch Carrier’s ‘The Sweater.’