Thursday, November 12, 2009
The lady in the middle is Elizabeth Graham. She played as a goaltender in Kingston, Ontario for the Queen's University women's hockey team.
She may have been the first goalie to ever wear a mask in an organized hockey game. Not Jacques Plante, not Clint Benedict. Elizabeth Graham.
Graham appeared in a game in 1927 wearing a fencing mask. The Montreal Daily Star reported that Graham "gave the fans a surprise when she stepped into the nets and then donned a fencing mask."
It seems Ms. Graham donned the facial protection at the request of her father, who did not want to see her teeth get damaged. She had previously undergone extensive dental surgery, although it is not clear if it was hockey related or not.
Clint Benedict appeared in a NHL game wearing a mask in 1930. Jacques Plante did not popularize the use of the mask until 1959.