Puck Daddy - NHL

My buddy Neate Sager e-mailed me over to the weekend and pointed me over to this recent post by blogger Greg Caggiano -- with the subject header "Swastikas on Ice‏."

Yes, that would be your Edmonton Swastikas women's hockey team, in a photograph dated 1916. I wasn't previously familiar with this odd corner of puck history; although I was thrilled to discover what appears to be Zdeno Chara's great aunt standing in the back row.

Boy, if you thought the NHL had trouble getting space inside The Sports Authority now ...

Whenever a blogger is baffled by hockey history, there's really only one place to turn: Historian Joe Pelletier. He wasn't all that aware of this women's team, but he did point me over to other examples of Swastika jerseys: The Fernie Swastikas Hockey Team (1922) and the Windsor Swastikas Light Outfits (1912). He also sent me this article by writer Garth Vaughan about the legacy of hockey Swastikas in Windsor:

To the hockey fans of Windsor, Nova Scotia in the early years of the development of the game of ice hockey, the swastika meant both power and good fortune. Yes, to Windsorians, "SWASTIKAS" meant a high-scoring top-notch hockey team whose players proudly displayed the symbol on their jerseys and who were almost impossible to beat by other teams in the area. What hockey fan wouldn't be thrilled to be associated with an organization of that stature! Winning, then as now, was all-important to "hockey towns" and the Swastikas were doing it for Windsor, Nova Scotia, one of Canada's all-time outstanding hockey towns.

If "Swastikas are doing it for Windsor" isn't readymade for a stadium banner, I don't know what is.

An international movement dedicated to "reclaiming the swastika" has latched on to this hockey connection as an example of the symbol's previous good intentions. You know, before the whole "misuse by the Nazis, [where] it became associated with murder and oppression on a scale never before witnessed on this earth." That whole thing.

Hey, I'm all for second chances. But there's a better chance of seeing Billy Coutu in an NHL jersey again than a Swastika on one; and he died in 1978.

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