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News Release


Hockey Heroes Jacques Plante, Bill Barilko and Ab Hoffman

"Three Stars" on the Library and Archives of Canada’s New Hockey Web Site

Ottawa, May 9, 2003  -  Just in time for the playoffs, the Library and Archives of Canada this week launched a pair of scintillating new Web sites: Backcheck: A Hockey Retrospective and Backcheck: Hockey for Kids. Both sites explore the history and development of hockey using photos, stories and manuscript materials, most of which are available to the public for the first time.

Developed by the Digital Library of Canada in partnership with the Society for International Hockey Research, Backcheck features great hockey stories based on English and French language newspapers, rare photos, and valuable information for researchers, teachers and hockey buffs.

Stories in Backcheck include the tragic saga of Maple Leaf defenceman Bill Barilko, whose plane went missing in 1951; Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin’s account of the first hockey game; and the 1928 Stanley Cup game, where 44-year-old coach Lester Patrick pitched in for the New York Rangers’ injured goalie. There is also the story of young Abby or Ab Hoffman who, at 8 years old, joined a boy’s hockey team only to be thrust into the spotlight when it was discovered that she was a girl.

"Canadians are passionate about hockey, and this site will appeal to hockey fans of all ages," added Dr. Roch Carrier, National Librarian. "Not only will you find yourself back at the rink, but you will also find yourself back in time, exploring all of Canada."

Another highlight of Backcheck is the extensive photo gallery, based on material from the Library and Archives’ vast collection, which includes trading cards produced in the 1930s by the O-Pee-Chee Chewing Gum Company and featuring hockey greats like Howie Morenz and Albert Leduc. There is also a photo of 14-year-old goaltender Jacques Plante posing with teammates in 1944, and a photo of Frank Finnegan, a right forward with the Ottawa Senators in 1933-34.

The parallel site Backcheck: Hockey for Kids is geared to a younger audience and features curriculum tie-ins, which provide teachers with suggested classroom activities that have a hockey theme.

The Library and Archives of Canada is a meeting place both real and virtual for everyone interested in Canada’s heritage. Through exhibitions, special events, family research and a dynamic Web site, the Library and Archives of Canada helps Canadians to understand the individuals, issues and events that have influenced Canada’s development.


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Pauline Portelance
Media Relations
Library and Archives of Canada