Jerseys honour local hockey history

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

They first caught the attention of the nation during the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

And last night before a capacity crowd at the MTS Centre, the "antique gold" replica 1920 Winnipeg Falcons jerseys were on display as Canada's national junior team took on Finland in exhibition action.

The Falcons, a team of Icelandic immigrants who created their own league, were the first team from Canada to win a gold medal at the Olympics. They were known as a skilled and rugged side that upended the heavily-favoured University of Toronto team in the Allan Cup, then defeated Czechoslovakia, the United States and Sweden to mine gold in Antwerp, Belgium.

"It's a chance to wear it in Winnipeg and give back to the city that has hosted us for the past couple of weeks," said Nigel Dawes, a Team Canada forward who hails from Winnipeg. "It's just great."

Sidney Crosby said it was great way to honour Canada's hockey history.

"Obviously that seems to be kind of a big thing, with the vintage jerseys in the NHL and with Hockey Canada as well," said Crosby.

"They're nice. They're something different. Any Canada jersey is nice, no matter what colour it is or what's on it. I'm happy to have the opportunity to wear one."

All 22 game-worn jerseys will benefit various charities in Manitoba through various auctions.

The jerseys were first unveiled on Aug. 31 when Canada took on the United States in the first game of the World Cup of Hockey.

PASSING THE TIME: When asked about the comparisons to Canada's dominant world junior team in 1995 that won the gold medal in Red Deer, Dawes came up with a thoughtful response.

"It's flattering, I guess, if you can be compared to teams like that," said Dawes. "As a whole, I don't think we're trying to get too caught up in things like that. We read the papers but it's just something to do to kill some time. It goes in one ear and out the other.

"It's all people's opinion and we won't know until maybe five, 10, 15 teams down the road."

ALARMING DAY: Before Team Canada got to the rink for last night's exhibition game, they were hit with a double whammy of alarm bells.

The first came at just past 8 a.m. when the fire alarm at the Fairmont Hotel went off.

Several players were still in bed and that wasn't the wake-up call they were looking for.

The next came during the early stages of the morning skate.

The second alarm was caused by a water-main break in the Moxie's Restaurant inside the MTS Centre.


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