145: Maurice Richard and “The Sweater”
Here are a few things you may not have known about the player they called The Rocket.
First, Richard was born in Montreal and went on to play 18 years for the Montreal Canadiens. He was the first player to score 50 goals in a season and the first to score 500 goals in a career.
Second, he was a cultural icon among the people of Quebec. His suspension in 1955 triggered what was called the Richard Riot which has been seen as a sign of rising tensions between the Anglophone and Francophone communities in the province.
Third, Richard is featured prominently in Canadian author Roch Carrier’s “The Hockey Sweater,” a tale of a young fan of the Canadiens who is ostracized after his mother forces him to wear a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey that was sent instead of the Richard jersey she had ordered. The book was made into an animated short, and a line from the book is featured on the Canadian five-dollar bill.
Fourth, Richard died of cancer in 2000 at the age of 78 in Montreal.