good-natured hoaxing + giddy clowning: a fête for a maple leaf king, st. patrick’s day, 1934

Sláinte: King Clancy donned a special sweater on March 17, 1934, for a St. Patrick’s Day bout with the New York Rangers. He changed back into his regular Leaf colours after the first period. Sold at auction in 2009, the greenery fetched a price of $44,628.85. (Image: Classic Auctions)

St. Patrick’s Day at Maple Leaf Gardens was a big do in 1934: Conn Smythe spared no extravagance in celebrating the day in raucous style, and Leafs’ star defenceman, King Clancy, along with it. There was a hockey game, too, as Toronto beat the visiting New York Rangers, but it was what took place before any pucks were played that makes an impression 89 years later, even if the Leafs and the NHL would rather not recall the circumstances in too much detail. For TVO Today, I wrote about the Irish-infused revelry that night, how Clancy ended up playing the game in blackface, and why Toronto barely batted an eye. You can read about it here.

Irish Eyes, Smiling: Clancy, at right, with face blackened, was deluged with gifts: a radio, a silver tea service, and more.

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