Thursday, October 9, 2014

Stompin' Tom and the Hockey Song; The Mystery Album Cover

I recently picked up this original LP album of Stompin' Tom And The Hockey Song. I don't even own a turntable record player, I just had to have this piece of Canadiana. The album was issued in 1972 on Boot Records and was Connors' ninth album issue. It has a great picture on the front of a hockey scene involving the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. For licensing reasons all official team logos and numbers had to be painted out of the image. As a hockey history buff, I just had to determine who the players are in the photo.

The game is a home game for Montreal and the goaltender is obviously Ken Dryden, this alone helps to narrow it down to which season the photo is from. Dryden famously came up to the Habs at the end of the 1970/71 campaign and would lead Montreal to the the Stanley Cup. In those six regular season games and through the playoffs of 1971, Montreal and Toronto did not play each other. Since the Stompin' Tom album came out in 1972, the photo has to be from the 1971/72 season.

Toronto visited Montreal only three times in 1971/72; Dec.22/71, Jan.19/72 and Mar.22/72. With the help of my pal and fellow hockey history nut, Dave Jackson, we have used simple face and hair recognition as well as whether the player shot left or right to figure out who's who.
close-up of left side of album
Here's a close up of the left side of the pic. I'm fairly certain the Canadien coming in from the left is the right shooting Phil Roberto. Compare to the photo below (the Hab on the right). The Leaf player he is hooking appears to be Jim Harrison. Compare the sideburns and hair as well as the taping of the socks and ankles, all matches.
Phil Roberto (right)
Jim Harrison
This brings us to the Montreal defender right in the middle of the photo, detailed below on the left. At first glance I thought it was left-shooting defenceman Pierre Bouchard by the poofy, flowing hair. Closer inspection however shows that his skates are obviously CCM Tacks (you can see the logo on his right boot starting with "T') and as far as I know, Bouchard always wore molded plastic skates even right up to the end of his career. Below is a pic of him from a 1970 Montreal postcard set with his molded plastic skates.

close-up of right side of album
Pierre Bouchard
Next I noticed that it appears there is a number "1" on this players right arm that was missed in the airbrushing, so my next thought was the player could be Serge Savard who wore number 18. The problem is, Savard also wore the same plastic boot skates that Bouchard did (see next pic) Next I looked for left-shooting Canadiens with a number "1" as the first of their number (10 through 19). The options in 1971/72 were Yvan Cournoyer (definitely not him), Rejean Houle (#15) but I'm fairly certain he was wearing a helmet on the ice at this point. Henri Richard was #16 and Marc Tardif #11, but this is definitely neither of them. The last option is a back-checking Larry Pleau who wore both #8  and #17 in 71/72. He's the second photo below and you can see that his hair and skates match, so I'll go with a tentative yes for him.
Serge Savard w/plastic skates
Larry Pleau
The last guy to identify is the Leaf closest to Dryden, and both myself and Dave are certain it's the high-scoring minor leaguer Guy Trottier. This guy has a "1" visible on his left arm meaning his number is either 11, 21, 31 etc. Trottier was #11 and had the pronounced ears that the guy in the picture does.

Determining which of the three games from 1971/72 this photo was taken is tough as Dryden played in all three and full lineups of the games are next to impossible to find. I'm fairly confident the players I named are accurate, below is a clipping from the Montreal Gazette on Jan. 20, 1972. This could very well be the game in which the Stompin' Tom cover took place.


dsd said...

It is also possible that this game was played toward the end of the 1970-71 season. Dryden played 6 games at the end of that year before his Conn Smythe winning cup run. One of those games was on March 18th, 1971 against the Leafs in Montreal. If I could see Harrison's number I could tell you which year.

All that aside, I believe the player you've identified as Larry Pleau is actually Habs stalwart defenceman Jacques Laperriere. If you look at the taping of the stick in this picture and the taping of Laperriere's stick in your Phil Roberto picture, it's a match. Laperriere had a tall, rangy build and was a solid defenceman who was on the ice a lot. By this point he had longer hair like on the album cover.

Nitzy said...

Indeed I somehow missed that late 1971 game, it's so difficult to pin it down. Sure is fun trying though As for the defender on the right being Laparierre...his tape does match, but that was fairly common back then. The hair just looks too different for me.

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