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Tuesday, November 01, 2016

November 1, 1959

Happy first of November, everybody!  And, welcome to the very first Tuesday Timeline of the month!  Today's subject is one that is guaranteed to make your head hurt...or maybe not. 

Confused?  Don't be.  It's actually a clue for today's topic.  For now though, let's see what events did not make the cut.

1503 - Pope Julius II is elected

1512 - The painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo is displayed to the public for the first time

1520 - The Strait of Magellan is first discovered

1604 - Shakespeare's "Othello" is performed for the first time in London

1611 - Seven years after "Othello" debuts, Shakespeare's "The Tempest" is also performed for the first time in London

1755 - Lisbon, Portugal is destroyed by an earthquake which kills at least 60,000 people

1765 - The Stamp Act is enacted on the Thirteen Colonies by British parliament

1800 - John Adams becomes the first President to live in the White House

1848 - Boston becomes the home of the very first medical school for women

1870 - The first weather forecast is made by the Weather Bureau in the United States

1896 - A photo of a woman with exposed breasts appears in National Geographic magazine for the first time

1918 - In Brooklyn, New York, a rapid transit accident takes place at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Malbone Street, killing 102

1940 - Military veteran/singer-songwriter Barry Sadler (d. 1989) is born in Carlsbad, New Mexico

1942 - Actress Marcia Wallace (d. 2013) is born in Creston, Iowa

1956 - The Springhill mining disaster occurs in Springhill, Nova Scotia; although 88 miners are eventually rescued, 39 lose their lives

1960 - John F. Kennedy announces an idea to create the Peace Corps during his Presidential campaign

1968 - The Motion Picture Association of America's film rating system is introduced with the ratings of G, M, R, and X.  PG, PG-13, and NC-17 would come later

1982 - Honda becomes the first Asian car company to produce cars within the United States

1984 - Anti-Sikh riots occur in India following the Halloween assassination of Indira Gandhi at the hands of her Sikh bodyguards

1985 - Comedian Phil Silvers dies at the age of 74

2006 - Actress/director Adrienne Shelly is found dead in her studio apartment having been murdered; Shelly was just 40 years old

2013 - Gunfire erupts at Los Angeles International Airport, where the gunman ends up killing one and wounding seven

And celebrating a birthday on November 1 are the following people; George S. Irving, John Clark, Gillian Knight, Bill Anderson, Larry Flynt, Kinky Friedman, Yuko Shimizu, David Foster, Belita Moreno, Lyle Lovett, Joe DeRenzo, Susanna Clarke, Lauren-Marie Taylor, Anthony Kiedis, Rick Allen, Big Kenny, Sophie B. Hawkins, Tina Arena, Tie Domi, Toni Collette, Bo Bice, and Penn Badgley.

So, we know the date is November 1.  What year will we be looking at this time around?

How about November 1, 1959

And to begin with this edition of the Tuesday Timeline, let us look at the world of professional hockey.

Having watched games at both local and national levels, I can tell you that hockey is definitely not a sport for the faint of heart.  It can be quite dangerous.  Why, you could sustain a broken bone or two.  You could lose a tooth or two.  Heck, in one case, you could accidentally take a skate to the throat and end up nearly bleeding to death on the rink!  Fortunately for Clint Malarchuk - the hockey player who did have his neck cut - he survived.

As did the subject of today's Tuesday Timeline subject - Jacques Plante.  In 1959, he sustained a serious injury on the ice while playing a game for his team, the Montreal Canadiens.  And that injury would quite literally change the face of how hockey is played all over the world.

Jacques Plante was a goalie for the team, and when you think of goalies you have a particular image in your head of how they are supposed to look.  They are easily the most recognizable player on the team because they are wearing so much protective equipment and padding that you sometimes wonder how they can even move around at all!  Perhaps the most common piece of equipment one might expect a goalie to wear is the protective face mask that softens the blow of any hockey puck that might sail their way.  Because let's face it - would you want a flying hockey puck to bean you square in the face?  I don't think that would be an experience that I would want.

These days, it's required that all goaltenders wear a protective mask.  Prior to 1959, however, they weren't.  In fact, the very day that Plante got injured - November 1, 1959 - he was NOT wearing any sort of protective mask.  The end result was that Plante took a puck to the nose which broke it and he was forced to get stitches as a result of it.

Interestingly enough, Plante had created his very own protective mask at least three years prior to his injury.  At the time, he had suffered from a condition known as sinusitis - which is something I know all too well as I also was inflicted with it a lot as a child.  I missed quite a few days of school because of it, and Plante missed thirteen games because of sinusitis.  Plante created a mask made out of fibreglass to wear during practice sessions as an aid in countering the sinusitis, which was allowed by then head coach of the team Toe Blake.  But Blake refused to allow Plante to wear the mask on the ice during actual games. 

But that all changed once Plante took a puck to the nose, and he came back to the ice - wearing the mask.  At first, Blake was livid and told Plante that he needed to get rid of the mask, but Plante stood his ground and said that if he wasn't allowed to wear the mask, he wasn't going back out on the ice.

And considering that there were no alternate goalies on that day, Blake relented and told Plante that he could wear the mask until his stitches were taken out.  The end result of the game was that the Canadiens defeated the New York Rangers 3-1.

But as time passed and his cut healed, Plante made the decision to continue to wear the mask anyway, not only labelling it a good luck charm, but a piece of equipment that could prevent him and any other goalie from sustaining serious injury.  Case in point, the Canadiens would win the next consecutive EIGHTEEN games with Plante wearing his mask.  The one game he was forced to remove it, the team lost.  At that point, Blake realized that his argument was null and void, and he allowed Plante to wear the mask for the rest of the season.  That year, the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup!

Now, I'm not saying that the mask truly was a good luck charm.  To be honest, I think the idea of Plante feeling he was safe from harm while wearing it worked in his favour as he could focus more on winning the game and less on worrying about injuries.  And although health problems would cause the 1959/1960 season to be Plante's last as a player, he would go on to patent a model of face mask for other goalies - and he would forever be known as the man who made the goalie mask a mandatory piece of equipment in the game of hockey!

Not a bad achievement.

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