BlogApril 29, 2014

The Most Important Hockey Painting

Philip Surrey, OC, RCA (1910-1990) Changing Forward Lines, c. 1970.


Having been in the business of Canadian art for four decades and being a hockey fan, with the impending excitement of a Habs vs. Bruins playoff series, we are proud to share with you what we believe is the finest hockey painting. (The artist himself puts in a cameo appearance in the lower right).


The painting shows John Bucyk #9, left wing, Phil Esposito #7, centre and Fred Stanfield #17, a centre man who sometime played wing. (Or is it #12 Wayne Cashman, a natural winger?) The painting will be on view (but not for sale) from April 30 for 10 days at Galerie Alan Klinkhoff, 1448 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal


Philip Surrey did the study for this painting attending a game in Boston on November 8, 1970. That Boston team had the makings of a dynasty, winning the Stanley Cup the previous season and should have won it in the '70-'71 season too, but won it again in '71-'72. Coached by Ted Johnson, players Johnny Bucyk, Phil Esposito, Wayne Cashman, Bobby Orr, Derek Sanderson, Ted Green, Reggie Leach, Ed Westfall, Ken Hodge, Fred Stanfield with Gerry Cheevers and Eddie Johnson as goalers, this team won so many honours at the end of the '70-71 season but not the cup! They finished 1st in the east division, the Habs miles behind in 3rd. Not to be overlooked, Montreal was led by Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard, the Mahovlich brothers, Mickey Redmond, Jacques Lemaire, Ralph Backstrom, Réjean Houle, Yvan Cournoyer, J.C. Tremblay protected by John Ferguson, Jacques Laperrière and Guy Lapointe to name a selection. The wild card was that after his season finished in the American Hockey League, Ken Dryden was called up to replace Phil Myre backing up Rogatien Vachon. To everyone's surprise, having played only six games with the Club, the Coach, Al MacNeil, chose to start Dryden in the series against Boston where he played brilliantly and helped his team upset Boston in a seven game series, then Minnesota and finally Chicago to win the Stanley Cup.


Back to the night of November 8, 1970 and the game in Boston Philip Surrey attended, despite their powerhouse team, in front of their home crowd Boston was humiliated with a 6-1 thrashing by the Canadiens. It is likely that embarrassment that led to one of those classic bench clearing brawls of yesteryear, captured on a YouTube video, Canadiens/Bruins Bench-Clearing Brawl, a 5 minute clip where a few minutes into the "event" the only people on the bench are Derek Sanderson wrestling with Phil Roberto.


Hey with some hard work on the ice, maybe the Montreal Boston series could be one of those "déjà vu all over again" finishes.

Go Habs Go


Craig, Jonathan & Alan Klinkhoff

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I would like to make a further interpretation of the painting...the title "Changing Forward Lines". The "Changing" of the guard, the colour barrier being broken, breaking racial "Lines", the NHL going "Forward"...Willie O'Ree the first black player in the NHL played his first game against the Montreal Canadiens...the goalie in the background is aMontreal Canadien...that is significant

Jamie Hogaboam
21 February 2018
Wanderful painting, though I would argue that Ken Dandby's "At the Crease" is more important and more iconic.
29 October 2014
Great picture. Thanks for sharing it with us. There are however a few of us who will be cheering for Boston. As a Flames fan I admired the talents of Jerome Iginla who is now with Boston. NotwithstandingI am sure the series will be great.
Barry Harrison
29 April 2014

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