Monday, February 12, 2007

The Hockey Sweater

When I first moved to Canada in 1990, one of the first "Canadian" pieces I read was Roch Carrier's "The Hockey Sweater" or "Le chandail de hockey". Eyes On The Prize posted about it over the weekend and I very much enjoyed the trip down memory lane.

Here is the wiki entry on the piece:

Though a relatively recent story, it has become one of the best-known works of literature in Canada. It was made into a National Film Board of Canada (NFB) animated short in 1980, known as The Sweater, or Le Chandail. The short is often shown, in both French and English, to elementary school students, making it very well known amongst Canadian youth.

The story is widely considered an allegory for the linguistic and cultural tensions between anglophone and francophone Canadians, and an essential classic of Canadian literature. An excerpt from the story is now also commemorated in both official languages of Canada on the back of the Canadian five-dollar bill.

"The Hockey Sweater" is based on the real experience of Carrier growing up in an isolated part of Quebec in the 1940s. He, like all boys his age, was a big fan of the Montreal Canadiens and their star player, Maurice "The Rocket" Richard.

When Carrier's Montreal Canadiens hockey sweater wears out, his mother writes to Eaton's to order a new one. Unfortunately, the company sends a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater, the Canadiens' bitter rivals. A loyal fan of Les Habitants, Carrier protests having to wear the new sweater. But his mother refuses to let her son wear the old worn out sweater and, apparently unaware of the business's traditional policy they advertised, "Goods satisfactory, or money refunded", insists that if they were to return the sweater it may offend Mr. Eaton, himself a Leafs fan. As a result, young Carrier is forced to wear the Leafs sweater to his hockey game, feeling humiliated before the other players on the ice, each proudly wearing Canadiens sweaters.
For Canucks fans, it seems that some creative, local kids have put together a modern-day, West Coast adaptation of the story. I don't know if they've entered it into the Ultimate Canucks Fan contest yet, but if so, they'll certainly have my vote right now.

Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 9:37 AM


At February 12, 2007 10:44 AM, Blogger Miss 604 said...

Cool! I used to watch The Hockey Sweater (National Film Board edition) in elementary school. I have the book to, it's sitting on our 'hockey shelf' :p

At February 13, 2007 6:04 AM, Blogger hoopsjunky said...

That's awesome! I wonder if we can get someone to do a "dramatic reading" on the podcast.

At February 22, 2007 11:50 PM, Blogger Buch-Hermit SR said...

I'm actually the director of this film (it was for a film production class at UBC), and I have thought about sending the video in. However, since it was based off Roch Carrier's book, we're unsure whether that would infringe on copyright (that would be against the contest regulations, and may disqualify us). However, with the unexpected response (over 2000 views on YouTube alone) and praise, we're re-considering that option.

(Ironically, only two of the three main masterminds behind this movie are Canucks fans -- I'm a fan of the Anaheim Ducks. :D )

At February 23, 2007 1:39 AM, Blogger Buch-Hermit SR said...

Okay, the video HAS INDEED been submitted to the contest, by the co-director (who is a Canucks fan and partly owns the video as well). Voting is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuw9CkAxM7E


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