March 01, 2016

Alphonse Frenchy Lacroix

The 1925-26 season opened with a shocking story out of Montreal.

The Canadiens were desperately seeking a new starting goaltender as the great Georges Vezina - the only goalie the franchise had known for 15 years and 328 consecutive games - fell ill with a serious case of tuberculosis. Vezina would never return to the ice and lost the battle and his life a few months later.

Montreal's first choice Alphonse "Frenchy" Lacroix, who was signed on November 10th, 1925. Despite the great name he was not your typical French goalie in Montreal. He was not even from Quebec. He was from Newton, Massachusetts. His parents, both French, originally settled in New Orleans before moving north to Massachusetts.

Lacroix was an amateur star in the Boston area. He was most famous for backstopping the 1924 American Olympic team to a silver medal.

The Habs were a pretty weak team that season. And when Lacroix got off to a 1-4 record in his first give games, the fans quickly grew unhappy.

But it was not Lacroix's play that saw him exit Montreal after just five games (in which he, for some reason, wore three different sweater numbers), but rather a complication in his contract. His contract officially had him loaned to Montreal from the Boston amateur leagues. He could not play more than five contests as he was signed only to be an emergency goaltender. When a solution could not be resolved, Lacroix exited the net and was used for the two seasons strictly as a never-used emergency goalie.

Lacroix returned to America in 1927 and played several more seasons before retiring. He lived out his years in Lewiston, Maine where he became a professional hockey scout.

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