The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier celebrates 30 years
Seminal short story by Quebec author tells the tale of a young boy forced to wear a Maple Leafs jersey
Author Roch Carrier first penned The Hockey Sweater in 1979, but it wasn't until 1984 that an illustrated version of the story stole the hearts of Quebecers.
Carrier originally wrote the iconic autobiographical story as a CBC radio essay. With the help of a young animator and illustrator named Sheldon Cohen, the essay became a short film and then an illustrated children's book.
The book tells the story of an experience from Carrier's youth, in which his mother orders a new sweater from the Eaton's department store mail-order catalogue to replace Carrier's worn Montreal Canadiens sweater.
A Toronto Maple Leafs sweater arrived instead, and Carrier was forced to wear it on the neighbourhood hockey rink while the other children wore Maurice "Rocket" Richard's No. 9.
Carrier finally met Richard after writing The Hockey Sweater. He said the hockey great had tears in his eyes after a retelling of the story.
The two men met again at a book fair, where Richard gave Carrier a Canadiens hockey sweater emblazoned with the No. 9 and Carrier's name.
Carrier and Cohen appeared on All In a Weekend Saturday morning to talk about the inspiration for the story and how it has endured over the years. Listen to the touching interview here.