Last week, the Chicago Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup in six years. It also marked the first time that the Blackhawks hoisted a Cup at home since 1938. But hockey in the Windy City existed long before Kane, Toews, and Sharp (The Chicago Blackhawks are actually one of the Original Six teams in the NHL) and in 1970, the Chicago Blackhawks took on their toughest opponents yet: Jim Henson’s Muppets.
The clip features a young Grover winning a faceoff against defenseman Pat Stapleton who, along with winger Gerry Pinder, attempts to score on goaltender Cookie Monster. Ol’ blue appears to be standing on his head this game and blocks the shot. Bert clears the puck and things get heated for a minute, but luckily an official is close to the action and no penalty is called.
On the next play, Big Bird—the Bob Probert of the team who is possibly “wearing the foil”—gets rough with Chicago defenseman Ray McCay along the boards. This isn’t the old time hockey of Eddie Shore but rather the pro wrestling style nonsense that would be ushered in by the Philadelphia Flyers in the ‘70s. Bird passes the puck to Ernie who brings it up to the crease allowing Grover to score on goaltender, 1970 Calder Memorial Trophy winner, and Binny’s Liquor store spokesperson Tony Esposito.
It’s a short clip that’s featured on the Chicago Film Archives YouTube page, and it’s speculated that the clip is comprised of excerpts from a Sesame Street commercial spot or promotional video. There isn’t a helmet to be seen, Esposito isn’t even wearing his famous goalie mask in the clip, and the Sesame Street gang are surprisingly good skaters. The footage is less than a minute long but sure to give a chuckle to Muppet and Blackhawks fans alike.