Circa 1960 Gordie Howe - Game Worn Shoulder Pads
Originating from a prominent family collection associated with a former Detroit Olympia employee, we present this incredible set of Gordie Howe game worn shoulder pads.
This style of shoulder pad has been identified in several images of Gordie Howe and other members of the NHL Detroit Red Wings of the late 1950's and early 1960's. Most notable on the shoulder pads is the slightly faded # 9 written in marker pen on his right chest protection. This style of number 9 is identical to an image presented here of Gordie Howe in a similar pair of shoulder pads. Trainer Lefty Wilson was known to mark the player's equipment with a marker. Either with their name and/or jersey number.
The other notable aspect of these pads is the "Olympic Sporting Goods Detroit Michigan" on the left chest of the pads. The Lippman Sporting Goods company dissolved around 1960 into a couple companies, one of which was Olympic Sporting Goods. Detroit Red Wing equipment, sticks and jerseys of the 1960's are found with a tag or stamp of Olympic Sporting Goods.
Also the style of shoulder pads is very heavy duty, consistent with those worn by the very best players in the world. An interesting feature of the pads are the pant suspender straps which have the top end sewn into the inside of the chest and back. The bottom of the suspenders are then attached by the player to the top of the pants. The photo of Gordie Howe with the # 9 on the shoulder pad shows him in the process of attaching the suspenders.
These pads have an extra large area of chest protection. Although I have not found images of Mr. Howe in these exact pads, an image was found of team mate Red Kelly circa 1958-60 wearing this exact style of pad with the larger area of chest protection. Several images have been found of Gordie Howe wearing several different styles of shoulder pad. It is not the most common image to uncover given the photographer would have to have been in the dressing room.
Obvious use and wear is present in the form of sweat stains and a general softening to the material. There is rust in all the snaps as would be expected. The shoulder pads remain in amazing original condition. This could be the only pair of Gordie Howe game worn shoulder pads to ever have surfaced. A sight to behold of old time hockey worn by Mr. Hockey himself.