That’s Roch Carrier, the Quebec author, when he was 10 years old, in 1947.
If you know anything about the history of Canada, or hockey, you’ll know that there’s something wrong with that picture once you hear it was taken in Sainte-Justine-de-Dorchester, Quebec — near Quebec City but also near the Maine border.
Or, to put it another way, it wasn’t taken in Toronto.
If you don’t know much about Canadian history (and, along with it, the complex relations between English and French cultures, dating all the way back to competing imperial interests in what was then called New France vs. British North America), and perhaps even less about hockey (and, along with it, the complex relations between two storied franchises: the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs), then, back in 1979, Carrier did you a favor when he wrote what has become a much beloved children’s book about that hockey sweater. Originally entitled “Une abominable feuille d’érable sur la glace” (English: “An abominable maple leaf on the ice”), it’s known now simply as The Hockey Sweater.
And it’s even luckier for you that the National Film Board of Canada turned it into a short film.
Perhaps because of the late-July heat outside, down here in Alabama, I’m thinking of long past, cooler times. Add a dose of interest in identity formation, and it’s not hard to hit upon Carrier’s modern classic.
2 Replies to ““I asked God to send me, right away, a hundred million moths that would eat up my Toronto Maple Leafs Sweater””
I knew the story, from those first words. Hockey Night in Canada, black and white tv, my father laying on the floor propped up on one elbow, a foot from the blaring set because he had lost most of his hearing in the war, his flat hand pounding on the rug whenever the right team scored. Indelibly Canadian.
I love the Montreal Canadiens. My dad raised me to be a Habs’ fan. As a secondary school teacher, I would always take The Hockey Sweater to school on days when Montreal beat Toronto and wearing my Habs’ jersey, read it to my class. I had a picture taken to illustrate the premise of the book. I love the book.