Terry Mosher’s editorial cartoons, penned under the name Aislin, have been a fixture of the Montreal Gazette for 50 years. We take a weekly look back at some memorable cartoons in this impressive and vast body of work. Terry Mosher’s new book, From Trudeau to Trudeau: Fifty Years of Aislin Cartoons, is in bookstores.
One of my first assignments for The Gazette was going to Moscow to do a sketchbook during the 1972 Canada-Russia hockey series. It is hard to grasp not only that the series took place 45 years ago this month, but that newspapers then had what seemed to be unlimited expense accounts.
I travelled to Moscow with a group that included Maurice Richard. In-flight charter service was very different then: everyone received a bottle of Canadian whisky and a carton of cigarettes. I remember little of the journey. Once in Moscow, the cheap red-pepper vodka in the Berezka tourist shops helped blunt the discomfort of incessant lineups, confusing hotel arrangements, language difficulties and the ubiquitous KGB guys in pointy shoes.
I couldn’t announce myself in Russia as a political cartoonist, so The Gazette gave me expensive camera equipment and press photographer credentials. This meant that at every game, I was in the photographers’ section, right down at ice level in Dvorets Sporta arena. Often, I would have my back to the hockey action, looking into the crowd for possible character sketches.
There were so many militsiya (civilian police) in the arena that I initially thought they were ushers.
The 3,000 Canadian fans looked like a Grey Cup weekend crowd, equipped with cowbells, placards and Canadian flags in every conceivable size and shape. In contrast, the Russian fans were dressed in bland blues, greys and blacks. By the final game, however, the Russians had learned to be just as boisterous as their rivals.
Every Canadian of a certain age remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing when Paul Henderson scored his famous goal on Sept. 28, 1972. I do, too — I was at the other end of that Moscow rink with my attention focused on Ken Dryden! Unbelievable …
AT A GLANCE
The Ottawa City Hall Art Gallery will be exhibiting a retrospective of Aislin cartoons Oct. 12-29.