October 20, 2008

Famous Firsts: The First Hockey Helmet

Who was the person to use the very first hockey helmet has no definitive answer.

Many people will credit Jack Crawford, a Boston Bruins defenseman in the 1940s, pictured to the right.

If you think that that is a very primitive looking helmet, don't worry. Crawford did not wear the head gear for protection, but rather because he was very vain about his bald head.

I recently learned of what is believed to be the earliest recorded use of a helmet, although it was not used by a player.

In the 1905 Stanley Cup series between Ottawa and Rat Portage, referee Mike Green wore a lid in order to protect himself from the physical play.

By the way, the first use of a hockey visor is much more clear. That innovation goes to Greg Neeld, who briefly played in the World Hockey Association.

1 comment:

Derek said...

Of course this is a little later than 1905 but when Ace Bailey was nearly killed in that dark NHL day of December 12th 1933 - Art Ross immediately made his defensemen wear helmets - George Owen, former football player for Harvard, did not need a big adjustment - even Tiny Thompson wore a helmet in net but it distracted him when it came over his eyes. Art Ross was the first to attempt mandatory helmets but fans did not like them because it hid the identity and character of the players. Players were more than happy to remove them.