Iconic 1953 Hockey Photo

hockey Montreal Canadians Shack Bailey

This iconic photo showed up on Facebook as an inquiry about the circumstances.  I figured a hockey town like Antigonish might be a good source for more information.   Please share any comments or memories of this game  on this site.

Here are some of the comments so far on FB:

 I took this from a Montreal Memories group I am part of.
One of the most famous hockey pictures ever taken. What do you know about this being taken? I have no idea aside from the game outcome.

  • I think it’s one of the greatest if not thee greatest hockey photos ever taken. This was at the conclusion of game seven, SF, 1953..Rocket scored the winner, despite being badly concussed, in the dying minutes after missing a good chunk of the game when he took a combination of a knee to the head and the head-hitting the ice impact. Leo Labine and Bill Quackenbush, caught him and he went down very, very hard. Then he showed up on the bench and when his line went out so did he. He took a pass coming out of his zone and beat his check in the neutral zone and the D on a button hook play before scoring on this goalie, Sugar Jim Henry, another great nickname in hockey history. How they came to have this pic, or I should say this position for the pic outside of the regular handshake is beyond me. Rocket bleeding, dazed, Henry, also blackened from multiple hits bent a bit acknowledging the Rocket’s accomplishment. Bruin GM Lynn Patrick said, ‘a truck would not have stopped the Rocket on that rush,’ Different times…
  • Claudio Cattai Back when concussions had no protocol
  • Liam Maguire Yes. And yet they all lived long lives. Wow. Imagine.
  • Jim Arthur My father told me about that game. I was not even born but the way my father told the story i thought i was there.
  • Liam Maguire Dick Irvin JR was there…his father was of course coaching Montreal…I think for anybody in the building they must have thought they witnessed something incredible…Dick’s description of it was incredible on my show a few weeks ago….amazing…but yes, despite anybodies 2014 views on how these men played this sport in 1953, this picture stands the test of time because of how this game was played…Classic…
    19 hrs · Like · 1
  • Paul Daoust I’ve read that he didn’t remember scoring that goal and that later in the dressing room after the game while everyone was celebrating that he just started crying and his teammates had never seen him cry before. They were stunned to silence.
    18 hrs · Like · 1
  • Liam Maguire That’s not quite accurate. He went into convulsions after the game in the dressing room, undoubtedly brought on by the concussion. It did happen with reporters in the room, and it was a stunning scene. He was sent to the hospital for observation and IV’s and he was ready for game one of the finals against Detroit. …He had no memory of the goal. As a naive younger man 25 years ago, when I did an informal interview with him in a bar I was part owner of, The Original Six, his memory of some of his more historic goals was vague. What he did recall with total clarity was as he said, ‘games against the Leafs,’ Rocket said they were, to him, the most bitter rival for the Canadiens. Whereas I would have thought Howe and the Wings but for him it was the games against Toronto that were the main rival for him…He obviously was concussed yet as most of them did in that time period and for decades before and after, they came back to play. Never seemed to affect his health. He was in robust form up until his last couple of years when stomach cancer, the second bout with it, took his life at 79 years of age.
    9 hrs · Like
  • Jamie Pollock just reading your post Liam, great stuff…I remember that night at the Original Six well, just around the corner from where we lived, gave this book to my late father, I even kept the invite

    Jamie Pollock's photo.
    8 hrs · Like · 2
  • Jamie Pollock …inside the book

    Jamie Pollock's photo.
  • Ya that was an unreal night. They all had their wives there except for Shack. The late Brian Smith did his sports cast live from the bar. We were the go to place in the city for hockey events. Great memories.
    8 hrs · Like · 3
  • Paul Daoust Thanks for the clarity there Liam. He was always my fathers favourite player and if he were to have a hero (old school fathers don’t have heros eh, lol) it would have been the rocket. He used to live near the forum and told me about a Leafs game he was at when he knocked out the same player twice in a fight. Back then you came too while you were in the penalty box. I can see why the Leafs would be his most bitter rival as they were perceived as the English team and he really spoke out about the treatment of French players back then. He even said can not the coaches even say a word of French toward them basically as a gesture. He wrote letters and did the odd radio interview as well about how he felt. I think that’s one of the reasons he became a bit of a polarizing figure of the French debate of no doubt further endeared himself into the French ‘psyche’. 
    Quite a man. But as he said “I was just a hockey player”.
    8 hrs · Like · 1
  • Liam Maguire I’m pretty sure that Leaf player was Bob Bailey. No relation to Ace. Polarizing player to be sure. I will try and find the link to that Dick Irvin interview. If you know of Rocket Richard at all you have to listen to Dick Irvin talk about him.


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