In 1972, an eight-game hockey series took place between Canada and the Soviet Union. Intended to improve relations between the two rivals, it ended up as the closest thing to open conflict ever experienced between the two nations.
Click through the timeline to learn more about the series!
After the Second World War, the western countries and the Soviet Union turned from allies to enemies. In the 1950s, the division between communist and non-communist nations deepened until the two sides teetered on the brink of nuclear warfare. Known as the "Cold War," it was a situation that threatened to escalate worldwide. In 1970, during this same time of global tensions, Canada withdrew from playing international hockey, unhappy when the rules changed to forbid professional players. With Canada no longer competing, the Soviets further dominated events like the Olympics and IIHF World Championships, but the "amateur" level was no longer enough and they sought a more worthy opponent - they wanted to take on Canada's best hockey players, all of whom were NHL pros. Beginning as a discussion between low-level Soviet and Canadian diplomats in Moscow, the idea of exhibition games between the world's two dominant hockey nations looked like a way to help thaw the Cold War. After years of diplomatic and logistical arrangements, an eight-game competition that became known as the "Summit Series" was announced - the Soviets would ice their national squad against the first all-pro team to represent Canada - the very first "Team Canada" - in September 1972.
Reigning Stanley-Cup winner Harry Sinden was named head coach and John Ferguson - originally invited as a player, just before he retired - was named his assistant. All Canadian pro players were considered for Team Canada's roster and almost all of the country's best talent was represented - Bobby Hull, J.C Trembley and a few others were not allowed to participate, as they had just left the NHL for the rival WHA league, while Bobby Orr was selected but was injured...though the Soviets did allow Canada to keep an extra roster spot open for him. The 35 men selected to represent their country came from 10 different NHL clubs with as many hockey cultures and, like any all-star lineup, were more a collection of exceptional individual talents than a truly cohesive team; the three-week training camp focussed more on the combined scoring prowess of Team Canada, rather than on their defensive needs. There was no captain designated for the team, though several wore the "A" as alternates: Phil Esposito, Frank Mahovlich, Stan Mikita and Jean Ratelle. Almost everyone predicted a complete 8-0 sweep of "The Russians". When the Soviets arrived in Montreal for three days of practice before Game One, the international importance of the series was evident: both hockey teams were surrounded by politicians and dignitaries of every description. The Russians said they had simply come to learn from the experience of playing against the world's best (and had officially been ordered to not lose by too much).
On a sweltering night in Montreal, many in Canada tuned in to watch Game One of the series. Viewers saw Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau perform the ceremonial face-off, which Esposito aggressively won, underlying the "enormity and importance" of the event, recalls Ken Dryden. Esposito was the only player the Soviets openly admitted to fearing before the series. Those who predicted a Canadian sweep of the series were buoyed when Esposito scored 30 seconds into the first period. But the buoyancy wasn't to last. Everyone who watched Team Canada's humiliating 7-3 loss that night also witnessed the end of the nation's assumption of hockey superiority. The Russians proved to be just as good - and maybe better. The country's media lambasted the Canadians' inability to match their opponent's skill set, conditioning and team cohesiveness. Legendary play-by-play announcer Foster Hewitt, who came out of retirement to call the series on English television, remarked that the Canadians were "really missing that team play." But not all the pressure was on Team Canada - the Soviet team with orders to not lose by too much now received orders to not lose at all.
Dennis Hull recalls that the intensity of Team Canada's practices picked up before Game Two and if the first game was Russia's coming-out party, the second - in Toronto, with the Prime Minister and Tim Horton watching from the stands - was the Canadians' coming-home party. Playing a hard-checking, physically demanding "Canadian" style, Team Canada dominated with its puck possession, superior team play and emotional level. Sinden, one of the few Canadians to have played against the Soviets previously, considered this game as one of the two best his squad played in the series. Several times during the broadcast Hewitt said the Canadians "were playing as a team." The 4-1 victory was a reflection of Sinden's ability to break the Soviet five-man system and allow his players to beat their opponents in one-on-one play. The Soviets had finally met the worthy opponent they had looked for and prepared themselves for. Canada knew that neither team would be swept. And off the ice, the media echoed the sentiments of viewing public who felt the now-tied series represented the Cold War itself.
It was a warm evening in Winnipeg and the sub-standard ice conditions played a part in the 4-4 final, as pucks bounced for both sides during an even, hard-hitting affair. While Bobby Hull watched from the stands, Hewitt remarked that both the Soviets and Canadians relied on "team effort rather than individual effort" throughout the match. The Russians seamlessly inserted six new players into their line-up that evening, scored two shorthanded goals and looked more like they had in Montreal, which was very good (compared to the media coverage for Team Canada, which was not).
In a fine example of foreshadowing, Esposito was referred to as the "captain" of Team Canada during the opening ceremonies in Vancouver, though no captain officially existed. Canada moved eight new players into its line-up and Hewitt noted that the team looked as disorganized as it had in Game One. Forward Wayne Cashman remembers how the team was out-conditioned by the Russians, who played an exceptionally hard-hitting, tight-checking, positional game, perhaps their best performance of the series. After Team Canada's gruelling 5-3 loss - where some in the crowd cheered the Soviets and booed the Canadians - Esposito was selected as the Canadian player of the game and used the post-game interview to chastise all the negativity directed towards the squad. Esposito, with his heart on his sleeve, looked straight into the camera and into the soul of the nation. He told everyone watching that the players were not there for money or fame, but "because we love Canada". For the country, it was a time of reflection. For the series, it was a defining moment. Esposito had become the real captain of Team Canada (or, as Gary Bergman called him, their "vociferous leader") and promised the nation that "we're gonna get better, I know it". With the entire country at an all-time low, he lifted the team on his back and went on the road. Good captains go down with their ship. Great ones keep it from sinking. Note: During the second period there was a special television feature on the Soviet Union, for those Canadians who would be joining Team Canada there later in the month.
The Soviets returned home to play another tournament before hosting the final four games of the Summit Series, all to take place in Moscow. Team Canada took a few days off before flying to Sweden, to adapt to the different time zones and international ice sizes. Their week-long stay in Stockholm involved games against the Swedish national team - a 4-1 win and 4-4 tie, where Esposito scored shorthanded in the last minute - and introduced the Canadians to the two German referees who would officiate in Moscow, and who appeared sub-standard, at best; one was later accused of being a pro-Soviet East German. Team Canada was often penalized for retaliating to uncalled Swedish stick infractions - including one that split Cashman''s tongue apart, ending his series. (The local papers only mentioned his cross-check of the Swedish captain, neglecting to mention the high stick to Cashman''s mouth.) The media focus in Sweden and Canada, which portrayed the team as goons, furthered their understanding that they''d been typecast and could not win without tempering their game. For the Canadians, isolated on the road and playing in hostile arenas, the time together fused them as a team and as team-mates. Pat Stapleton recalls the practices intensifying: every player wanted to be in the games and fought for the opportunity. They believed the odds were stacked against them in Europe, particularly in Moscow. Rod Seiling said the only friends they had were in their dressing room. Fierce NHL rivals became an inseparable unit of friends. They sang together on buses, and when Guy Lapointe''s wife had a baby daughter back in Canada, everyone celebrated on the lawn of their hotel. As a team. Team Canada.
It is remarkable, considering that the Cold War was in full swing, that around 3,000 Canadians decided to travel deep into enemy territory - behind communist Europe's "Iron Curtain" - to support a hockey team; but they did, becoming the largest group of tourists allowed into the country since before the Russian Revolution of 1917. The authorities warned Team Canada fans that they would not be allowed to wave their flags in the streets or in the arena. In fact, no boisterous behaviour of any sort was allowed. The Canadian players arrived as a far more cohesive unit than debuted in Montreal, their varied hockey backgrounds now folded into a unified approach for Moscow - where they were greeted with bag-loads of post-cards sent by a nation, perhaps moved by Esposito's words, now rallying behind its team. Brad Park remembers "10,000 telegrams...taped to the hallway to our dressing room."
For most Canadians watching Game Five at home, this was their first glimpse into the secretive Soviet Union, and technical issues plagued the satellite images as they bounced from Moscow to Helsinki to London and across the Atlantic to Canada. They saw a rabid collection of Canadian fans who waved flags, sang and celebrated wildly in defiance of the police presence; the next morning one local newspaper ran a story that assured readers the roof had withstood the ruckus. In attendance were the Soviet Union's supreme leaders, cementing the series' Cold War trappings and adding to the weight of expectation on the home side. The tension broke when Esposito fell while being introduced - slipping on a flower petal left from the opening ceremony - and as the crowd erupted in laughter, he gave them an exaggerated bow and quickly endeared himself. (His rapport with the Russian players was evident in Game Four, tapping Tretiak's pads after a good save and joking with Petrov after being tackled by him.) From before the puck dropped until the last buzzer sounded, the chants of "Go Canada Go!" rained down from the stands, filling the arena. This was the second of the two best games Sinden says his team played in the series, even though it blew leads of 3-0 and 4-1 on its way to a 5-4 loss. Hewitt's colour commentator, Brian Conacher, noted Canada's "composure and poise" to the audience at home, saying the team played a better technical game than during their victory in Toronto. As Team Canada skated off the ice after the defeat, its fans stood and loudly sang "O Canada". Most on the team felt confident in their ability to beat their opponent and Bobby Clarke remembers the players feeling lighter afterwards, because they felt like they had nothing to lose - though they now had to win the remaining three games to take the series. Note: All four games in the Soviet Union were played at Moscow's Luzhniki Arena - it didn't have glass all the way around the rink, with just netting around each end and some low glass along the boards at the penalty boxes: this design would factor into events in Game Eight.
The Soviet Union was a place where the government routinely bullied and intimidated its citizens into submission and now it turned its attention to Team Canada. The harassment came in several forms, including having the food and drink they brought disappear and numerous late-night phone calls intended to ruin their sleep. One of the more raucous Canadian fans was even detained - and threatened with five years of prison time in Siberia - for playing a trumpet in the stands. But Team Canada did not break because of this additional pressure. Sinden says the team felt it couldn't let their country down.
Team Canada's supporters were even louder this time out and Hewitt said they sounded more like a crowd of 20,000. The Russian fans were noticeably vocal when their team opened the scoring, but were soon quietened and drowned out when Canada scored three quick, unanswered goals on its way to a 3-2 victory; Hewitt told the millions watching at home that the rough, hard-hitting affair was "the hardest fought game I think I've seen in years" and reminded him of when the Penticton Vees defeated the Soviets in 1955 at the IIHF World Championships. Conacher said it best: "it's just sheer war" on the ice. "It was war...whether we wanted it or not," remarked Esposito. The Canadians continued their command of playing on the large ice surface, but ran into trouble with penalties: 32 minutes for them, four for Russia. Controversial decisions by the referees (as Team Canada had predicted in Stockholm) allowed emotions to run high. Hewitt had just commented on the roughness and "poor officiating" putting the entire game into a "fever pitch" when Clarke got 12 minutes in penalties for giving Kharlamov a tap on the left ankle with his stick. The Soviets - perhaps nervous, on the cusp of a possible historic victory - were not as sharp with their passing as usual. But Team Canada, to a man, was a gritty and determined squad, backstopped by Dryden, who was able to exorcize the ghosts of his earlier results. Canada's puck-possession game was superb thanks to the return of Serge Savard (according to Hewitt) and the team's relentless checking. Note: A Hull did score for Team Canada (Bobby's brother Dennis), Paul Henderson scored the winning goal (after being knocked unconscious in the previous game) and Conacher noted the team "never had more support back home."
Team Canada's solid victory in Game Six - playing "our game" and "our style" on a night when it snowed in Moscow - whipped the nation into a further frenzy before Game Seven and huge numbers of people tuned in to watch. Hewitt told them that, regardless of the outcome, the Soviets have won a moral victory by proving their hockey players seem to be "comparable to our best." The Russians inserted five new players (including one to replace Kharlamov) to Canada's one (the Canadians also brought Tony Esposito back between the pipes) and there were two new referees - a Swede and a Czech - who replaced the West Germans. With the Canadian fans cheering endlessly, the game began slowly and cautiously, with little hitting; while Conacher noted that Bill Goldsworthy seemed relaxed and not quite as chippy, the same could have been said of every member of Team Canada. But as the game progressed, tensions slowly heated: as Hewitt said "it wouldn't take very much to cause a donnybrook." Phil Esposito tussled with Mikhailov, who later kicked Gary Bergman with his skate several times during a melee behind the Canadian net, turning Team Canada livid. With just over two minutes left and the score tied 3-3, Paul Henderson beat four Soviet players and scored a dramatic goal. The Russians poured it on at the end, but the Canadians threw themselves in front of every shot to preserve the win. The series was now tied, with just one game to go.
Before the start of Game One, Hewitt said that the series between Canada and the Soviet Union promised to be sensational; before the start of Game Eight, he added that "if you were writing the script, it couldn't have produced a more dramatic final." As Team Canada skated out to roaring cheers, it had no way of knowing the magnitude of the effect it had on a nation. Businesses closed, schools stopped teaching and, though exact numbers are impossible to calculate, some estimate that 18 million of Canada's 22 million residents were in front of a television. One of the West German referees from earlier in the series replaced the Swedish ref and, as Hewitt remarked, the game "started out with a storm" - the Soviets started diving, Canada ran into penalties, the Russians scored, J.P. Parise was tossed out of the game for threatening a ref, the Canadian bench threw things on the ice and their fans chanted "Let's Go Home!" all before the five-minute mark of the first period! Hewitt noted that the atmosphere was tense in the arena, with a large military and police presence. The game was fairly even until the Soviets jumped ahead 5-3 after two periods. Stapleton - who played on a foot broken in the previous game - remembers that there were no big speeches in the dressing room during the second intermission, just a lot of gut-checking. Team Canada came out for the third period, scored quickly (Esposito again), then continued to press - with Rod Gilbert bloodying Mishakov's nose in a scrap - until Yvan Cournoyer tied the score. But the goal judge didn't turn on the light, which enraged Canadian team official Alan Eagleson. When the fuming Eagleson went to check the goal light, he was grabbed by Soviet police. Team Canada players swarmed to the side of the ice to rescue him, a stick-wielding Peter Mahovlich climbing over the low boards to wade into the scrum to free him (dulling his skate blades in the process). Hundreds of uniformed police and army poured into the arena and began ringing the playing surface, while Team Canada's fans cheered loudly as the final minute of the last game arrived. It was in those final 60 seconds that, after taking a wild stab at the puck and falling down, Henderson buried an Esposito rebound and scored "the goal heard 'round the world" for Canada. The Canadian fans exploded in the stands, madly waving their flags and "Mission Possible" signs - and their joy was echoed and amplified by the elation of the countless millions back home. The roaring Canadian fans loudly counted down the final 10 of the 28,800 seconds played in the series, and it was all over. Hewitt said the team had fought like a tiger and Anatoly Tarasov - the "father of Russian hockey" - reflected that "the Canadians battled with the ferocity and intensity of a cornered animal." (The Soviets had often commented on the openly emotional nature of Team Canada, from Phil Esposito to Harry Sinden, which was in deep contrast to the self-controlled nature of their own society.) Note: With two minutes left, the Soviets announced that they would declare victory in the tied series based on total goals scored. In fact, the game almost did not take place, as arguments over who would referee threatened to end the series (the compromise being to keep the Czech and add only one West German).
Team Canada had little time to relax and reflect, as they still had a game to play in Prague against the Czechoslovakian national team (the reigning world champions at the time). Czech-born Stan Mikita received the loudest ovation most of his team-mates ever heard when he was announced. Serge Savard scored with only four seconds left to snatch a 3-3 tie; at one point, on the Canadians' travels home, Phil Esposito hummed "Thanks for the Memory" and the whole team sang along. They arrived home as the biggest rock-stars the country had ever known, greeted in Montreal by the Prime Minister and mayor, along with 10,000 fans at the airport. In Toronto, Ontario's premier and mayor - and 80,000 supporters - welcomed them at City Hall. Then it was back to their 10 NHL clubs and the start of a new pro season.
July 12, 1972: Canada announces the 35 players who will be invited to camp to form the roster for the upcoming Summit Series, the first time NHL players will face the Soviet Union.
The list includes three goaltenders (Ken Dryden, Gerry Cheevers and Tony Esposito), 12 defensemen (including Bobby Orr, who ends up unable to play because of knee surgery) and 20 forwards. Cheevers, defenseman J.C. Tremblay, and forwards Bobby Hull and Derek Sanderson are on the list, but each has signed (or will sign) with the new World Hockey Association.
Because NHL President Clarence Campbell mandates that only players who have valid contracts with NHL teams can take part in the tournament, all four are replaced. Canada goes 1-3-1 in the first five games of the series but wins the last three in Moscow due to The Power of Teamwork.
Friday marked the 44th anniversary of a Game 1 loss that shocked the country and started a series Canadians will never forget.
by Stu Cowan/Montreal Gazette, September 2016 - Peter Mahovlich has lived in the United States for the last 30-plus years, but is still a very, very proud Canadian.
And the former Canadiens centre, now 69, was never more proud than after the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union. Mahovlich scored one of the most memorable goals of that eight-game series — a short-handed effort — in Game 2 in Toronto as Canada beat the Soviets 4-1 after a stunning 7-3 loss in Game 1 at the Montreal Forum. Friday marked the 44th anniversary of that Game 1 loss that shocked the country and Mahovlich was back in town at Place des Arts to take part in the ’72 Summit Series Tour that is travelling across Canada with players sharing their stories from that historic event with fans. Mahovlich was to be joined by Serge Savard, Ken Dryden, Yvan Cournoyer, Phil Esposito, Dennis Hull, Bobby Clarke, Pat Stapleton and Team Canada coach Harry Sinden. There will be other stops in Winnipeg Sept. 6, Vancouver Sept. 8 and Toronto Sept. 10 to celebrate the Summit Series that Canada won 4-3-1 on “The Goal” by Paul Henderson with only 34 seconds remaining in the final game. Forty-four years have passed, but Mahovlich still remembers the feeling when Team Canada left the ice for the last time in Moscow. “Just looking up at the (Canadian) fans who were there,” Mahovlich recalled when the ’72 Summit Series Tour was announced earlier this year. “What we accomplished. Knowing the turmoil that we went through. I’ve seen pictures of it, but I’m just looking at the fans with my gloves up in the air … and I knew my mother was in the crowd. I don’t think we would have been able to accomplish what we did without the support of the Canadian people that sent us telegrams in Moscow.” Mahovlich’s parents had come to Canada from Yugoslavia, settling in Timmins, Ont., looking for a better life. Peter and older brother Frank were both part of Team Canada in 1972. “They were fairly well-to-do there for them,” Mahovlich said about his parents in Europe. “My father left his country, being a land owner and a farmer, to come over here, work 25 years in the mines because he knew it was a better life for his family.” Mahovlich remembers the Team Canada plane landing in Montreal and the players celebrating on a fire engine. He saw Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and pulled him up to enjoy the moment with them. Mahovlich thinks it’s cool that Trudeau’s son, Justin, is now Prime Minister. Mahovlich, who now lives in Queensbury, N.Y., and is a pro scout for the Florida Panthers, said he’s not a political person, adding: “I’m a human being … I like helping other people.” “Everybody thinks (Justin) Trudeau’s too liberal right now, but he’s right,” Mahovlich said. “Let’s just keep inviting people in. It’s OK. We know that terrorism is going to affect us somewhere or somehow. But let’s not change the fact of who we are and what we are because of these idiots.” Canada is a melting pot and the Team Canada locker room was a bit like that before the Summit Series started. Back in 1972, NHLers really didn’t like — or even speak — to players from other teams. They were the enemies, unlike today when players change teams often and are NHLPA union brothers when commissioner Gary Bettman locks them out. “The culture of the league was such that you didn’t talk with players from other teams, even in the summertime,” Mahovlich said, adding that when the NHLers first met for a brief training camp in 1972 “it wasn’t Team Canada.” “It was a bunch of professional athletes from different teams,” he said. “Montreal Canadiens fans were Montreal Canadiens fans. They didn’t like Bobby Clarke, they didn’t like Phil Esposito. People don’t realize how that culture has changed through time because of all the international hockey that has been played by the pros since then.” But as the series continued and the pressure increased — with an entire country watching — the Team Canada players started to bond and would eventually become friends and teammates for life. Now they’re touring the country sharing their memories. The World Cup of Hockey starts this month in Toronto, but it will be nothing like that Summit Series 44 years ago when the two teams — and countries — hated each other. There will never be another hockey series like it. “When it’s all said and done, it’s about how proud it makes you feel to be a Canadian,” Mahovlich said. “We love our life, we love our lifestyle. Thank God I didn’t have to go to war. If you look at our history, when it was really, really bad and really tough, the first people to go in there were Canadians. French Canadians, English Canadians, it didn’t matter. Let’s get it done. “It’s always nice to be part of Canadian history in a sense. That you accomplished something.”
July 12, 1972: Canada announces the 35 players who will be invited to camp to form the roster for the upcoming Summit Series, the first time NHL players will face the Soviet Union.
The list includes three goalies (Ken Dryden, Gerry Cheevers and Tony Esposito), 12 defensemen (including Bobby Orr, who ends up unable to play because of knee surgery) and 20 forwards. Cheevers, defenseman J.C. Tremblay, and forwards Bobby Hull and Derek Sanderson are on the list, but each has signed (or will sign) with the new World Hockey Association.
Because NHL President Clarence Campbell mandates that only players who have valid contracts with NHL teams can take part in the tournament, all four are replaced. Canada goes 1-3-1 in the first five games of the series but wins the last three in Moscow.
Businessman and hockey luminary instrumental in '72 Summit Series, NHL participation in Olympics for the first time
by Swikar Oli, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Cambridge Times
Cambridge native Gordon "Gord" Ralph Renwick, an influential advocate for Canadian hockey on the national and international scene, died on Jan. 6, 2021. He was 85.
Renwick is survived by his second wife, five children, 16 grandchildren, two great grandchildren and his sister.
Calls poured in to pay respects and express admiration for Renwick, both as a businessman and hockey luminary, said his daughter Brenda Renwick.
“He was well loved and very respected.”
Gord, a life patron of Hockey Canada and among the first class inducted into the Order of Hockey in Canada, in company with Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe, died peacefully at Sterling Heights Long Term Care in Cambridge with his daughter Brenda by his side.
She will miss taking his phone calls at 10 a.m., asking “Where we were going for lunch?” which they did “all the time,” she said
Born in the city on Feb. 13, 1935, Gord, the eldest of three children, began his career as a businessman with Renwick Construction, a Cambridge company started by his father. Gord took over the company, which built homes and industrial businesses in the city, in 1963, after his father suddenly passed away. He soon found that his business acumen worked out very well in influencing the international administration of hockey.
Renwick soon launched the old Galt Hornets amateur senior hockey team and served as president from 1966 to 1973, during which time the team won two Allan Cup championships, in 1968 and 1971.
This was followed by Renwick helping to create the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, which in 1994 merged with Hockey Canada, and serving on the board of directors. Murray Costello, the first president of CAHA, said Renwick introduced business practices that weren’t in effect in the amateur game.
“He brought more of a corporate model of governance, rather than just a kitchen table operation,” he said.
Renwick also served on the IIHF for 20 years on behalf of Canada, first as a council member and for over a decade as vice president. He introduced an audit system where they dealt with external auditors.
“They never had any of their books audited up until that time,” Costello said.
Although she described him as a “quiet, quiet man,” his daughter Brenda noted his most cherished accomplishment he mentioned in private was getting the Soviet team to play in Canada in 1972 for four games of the remarkable Summit Series, where Canada won the eight-game competition during the final seconds in Moscow.
“He instigated all of that,” she said.
As a "spokesperson" on the international side for Canadian hockey at that time "anything they arrived at for Canada had to be validated by Renwick,” Costello explained.
“Whatever was negotiated with the Russians for the ‘72 series, Gordon had to approve it and take it forward to the IIHF for approval, and he did that very, very effectively.”
Renwick also negotiated for the NHL to join the Olympic Games in Japan, which happened for the first time in 1998.
Renwick enjoyed sailing, and after retiring from the hockey world in the 90s, visiting his cottage in Muskoka with family and friends and watching his favourite sport: baseball.
“He loved hockey, but he loved his Blue Jays more,” Brenda said with a laugh.
Another portion of Renwick's legacy will be left with Cambridge Memorial Hospital Foundation, where in 2019, the hospital unveiled the Renwick family bridge, a glass bridge connecting the legacy hospital building to Wing A.
A memorial for Renwick is planned on a future date, his family said. Instead of flowers, they are asking for the public for donations to a charity of their choice.
Since 1972, Team Canada has had many honours bestowed upon them, for their triumph, teamwork, and ability to bring a nation together.
In September 2016, members of Team Canada 1972 took part in a four-city tour of Canada, retracing their steps from the first half of the Summit Series.
Beginning in Montreal on the 2nd — exactly 44 years after Game One — the ’72 Summit Series Tour also appeared in front of fans in Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
Based on an informal, “hot-stove” discussion, audiences were immersed in the team’s locker-room banter, as they shared memories of those memorable 27 days in that September to remember and a multimedia display which brought back the sights and sounds of the historic event.
The tour was just part of Team Canada 1972’s “28-8” legacy project, which celebrates the Power of Teamwork.
After forming their own company the Members of Team Canada 1972 developed three-parts for “28-8” ventures — educational, entertainment and charitable-foundation efforts.
The education element includes work with Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame (CSHoF), Brock University, the Niagara Catholic District School Board and other individual school boards, to infuse the Summit Series story into curriculum.
The charitable-foundation side involves partnering with established foundations — such as Niagara Children’s Hospital and CSHoF — to give back to the nation that has honoured the team for more almost five decades.
To fund sustainable charitable and educational efforts, the team’s entertainment side is involved in projects like the 2016 tour (developed in partnership with Montreal-based Atmosphere Musique Inc.)
The Members of Team Canada 72 are so pleased to announce that Charlee Van De Peer's Historica Canada project on the Summit Series was successful at the Regional Heritage Fair competition and won the award of "History of Sport" with her project on Canada's Team of the Century, Team Canada 1972. Charlee will be attending the London (Ontario) Museum for Heritage Fair Awards Night where she will be recognized for her efforts on May 24th, 2018. It is wonderful to see that our youth is enthusiastic and eager to recapture and share some of Canada's greatest and defining moments in history. Historica Canada has a program with 12,000 - 14,000 Canadian schools to promote Canadian history through interactive displays and projects. The Power of Teamwork and the Legacy of Team Canada 72 and their 28,800 Seconds will always be remembered if it is left in the hands of remarkable young Canadians like Charlee Van De Peer. Charlee is 14-years-old. She plays defence for the Belmont Blazers Bantam AA Hockey Team and is the daughter of Kori and Ben Van De Peer. She has two brothers, Tyson Van De Peer and Chase Van De Peer. Tyson is a 17-year-old, 6' 2", 201 lb right defenseman who played the last three years with the Culver Military Academy. Charlee attends Northdale Public School in Dorchester. She is in Grade 8. After graduation this June Charlee will be attending Regina Mundi Catholic High School in London, ON. The Members of Team Canada 72 will be presenting Charlee with a gift to thank her and congratulate her wonder achievement.
November 28, 2018 - Members of Team Canada 1972, including chair Pat Stapleton and general manager Chad Dawson are with Professor Barry Wright at the Goodman School of Business at Brock University in St. Catharines, ON training ten teachers from the Niagara District Catholic School Board so they can implement our curriculum program, "28,800 Seconds, The Power of Teamwork" in their classrooms this year. This is the pilot of our National Curriculum Program..
Niagara Catholic District School Board Director of Education John Crocco (standing, left) and Team Canada1972 chair Pat Stapleton (sitting, right) at the 28:8 - The Power of Teamwork launch at Brock University earlier today. It's a great partnership with the NCDSB, Canada's Team of the Century and Goodman School of Business at Brock University.
Great listening to hockey legend Pat Stapleton in conversation with Dr. Barry Wright at Brock this morning. His words will stick with me “You become what you think about. You master your own thoughts.” Kaitlyn Little - Marketing and Communications Officer, Brock Univeristy
THE CURSE OF CLARA - Winner of the 2017 Canadian Screen Award for Best Animated Program. The Holiday Season, the Summit Series and The Nutcracker converge when an aspiring ballet dancer conjures up an imaginary mentor in the form of Phil Esposito. When small-town girl Vickie is accepted into the prestigious National Ballet School and selected to play “Clara” in the Company’s holiday production of The Nutcracker, things look like they couldn’t get any better. And they can’t, because that’s when Vickie finds out about the mysterious Curse of Clara. Thankfully, she’s got a good friend, the 1972 Summit Series and an imaginary mentor to keep her “on pointe.” Broadcasts nationwide on CBC-TV on: Friday, December 21st at 7pm local time, Sunday, December 23rd at 6:30pm local time.
Canadian darlings, multiple World and Olympic champion dance figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir show off their Team Canada 1972 sweaters presented to them, and other inductees, by the Members of Team Canada 1972 at the 2018 induction ceremonies of Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto, ON on Saturday, December 1, 2018. Team Canada 1972 were honoured with a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in 2015. Also inducted in 2018 along with Tessa and Scott were comedienne Andrea Martin, astronaut Chris Hadfield, actors/writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg along with musicians Andy Kim and the late Leonard Cohen.
(Chris' tweet after receiving his Team Canada 72 sweater at Canada's Walk of Fame 2018 unduction ceremonies)
Meeting your heroes is a thrill. Paul Henderson scored the winning goals in games 6, 7 & 8 during the 1972 Canada-USSR Summit Series. My school was shut down to watch. He signed my jersey :) Thanks Paul!
We all watched with great pride as teammate Vic Hadfield’s number 11 was retired by the New York Rangers and will remain for all eternity in the rafters of Madison Square Garden alongside the other legends of Rangers’ history including his great friends and New York Ranger linemates and Team Canada teammates Jean Ratelle and Rod Gilbert. We hope that before long Ranger teammate and Summit Series Most Valuable Defenseman Brad Park will be joining those hallowed rafters.
Here are some comments from the New York Post’s Larry Brooks: Hadfield did it all through 13 years and 841 games as a Blueshirt. He did it with his fists that he threw down in a series of memorable fights in the penalty box with Henri Richard and he did it with gnarled hands that were good enough for him to become the first 50-goal-scorer in franchise history in 1971-72. He did it with leadership abilities he used as captain in the run to the 1972 final. He did it with wit, humour and personality. “Oh, he was a leader, all right,” said Emile Francis. “He was the right guy to take over as captain [after Bob Nevin was traded following the 1971 playoffs]. I didn’t even think of anyone else. He was the type of individual that his teammates would follow. He garnered respect right away in this league. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for his teammates.” The members of Team Canada 1972 pass on their congratulations to Vic and his family. Besides Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle and Brad Park, Team Canada 72 teammates Rod Seiling and Red Berenson also played with Vic in the Big Apple. Don Awrey was a teammate of Vic’s with the Pittsburgh Penguins as was the late Gary Bergman with the Buffalo Bisons. Vic shared his junior hockey days in St. Catharines with the Teepees with Pat Stapleton and the late Stan Mikita winning a Memorial Cup with Pat in 1959-60.
2018 Canada’s Walk of Fame Allan Slaight Award Winner Jessie Reyez killin' it in her Team Canada 1972 sweater. Team Canada 72 presented the 2018 Canada's Walk of Fame inductees with a Team Canada 72 sweater. The Allan Slaight Honour recognizes the achievements of young Canadians who have the ability to turn their talent into inspiration. The honour is presented annually to a young Canadian who is making a positive impact in the field of music. Some previous winners have included Drake, Carly Rae Jepson, Brett Kissel and Shawn Mendes.
It was announced in August, and on Wednesday night, it was made official: Red Berenson is a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. And rightfully so for his contributions to the sport over the past half century. Berenson led Michigan to 22 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 1991-2012. Along the way, the Wolverines reached the Frozen Four 11 times and captured two national titles. He finished with an all-time record of 848-426-92 – a winning percentage of .654.
His playing career was nearly as impressive; Berenson potted 70 points as a junior forward with the Wolverines in 1961-62 before signing with the Montreal Canadiens. One 987-game NHL career later, Berenson recorded 261 goals and 397 assists for a total of 658 points over a 16-year span. Berenson went on to serve as an assistant coach and eventually the head coach of the St. Louis Blues from 1978-1982, and then two years as an assistant in Buffalo before returning to Ann Arbor. During his time behind the Michigan bench, Berenson coaches numerous NHL players, including Max Pacioretty, Dylan Larkin, Kyle Connor, Zach Werenski, Luke Glendening, Jack Johnson, Andrew Copp and Mike Knuble. Natalie Darwitz, Laeland Harrington, David Poile and Paul Stewart were also enshrined in the exclusive club. The late Jim Johannson was also honored with the Lester Patrick Trophy for his outstanding service to hockey in the United States. - Stefan Kubus, mihockey.com (photo - Red Berenson drops the puck during the 'Red Berenson Rink at Yost Ice Arena' dedication ceremony - Michael Caples/MiHockey)
On Saturday, December 29, 2018 former St. Louis Blues and Team Canada 72 star Red Berenson drops the ceremonial puck between the Blues' Alex Pietrangelo and Pittsburgh Penguin captain Sidney Crosby to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Red's six-goal game. The historic event happened on November 7, 1968, in a road game against the Philadelphia Flyers where Red scored six times, including four over a nine-minute span becoming the first player to score a double hat trick on a road game in NHL history. The six-goal total was one shy of the all-time NHL record set by Joe Malone in 1920, and has been accomplished only once since.
Team Canada 72 presented the 2018 Canada's Walk of Fame inductees with a Team Canada 72 sweater including Jesse Reyez. Jesse won The Allan Slaight Honour which recognizes the achievements of young Canadians who have the ability to turn their talent into inspiration. The honour is presented annually to a young Canadian who is making a positive impact in the field of music. Some previous winners have included Drake, Carly Rae Jepson, Brett Kissel and Shawn Mendes. At the JUNO awards at London, ON on March 17, 2019 Jesse won the JUNO for Best R&B/Soul Recording of the Year. The JUNO was presented to Jesse by the legendary icons David Foster and Sting. Congratulations Jesse!!
Team Canada 72’s National Curriculum Project Legends to Legacy, 28,800 Seconds, The Power of Teamwork is being piloted in 10 classrooms in 8 schools in the Niagara Catholic District School Board this school year. On Tuesday, March 26, 2019 team member Pat Stapleton along with our Education Consultant for the project Dr. Kate Cassidy from Brock University and Team Canada 72’s project manager Marty Dupuis spent the entire school day visiting three of the classrooms piloting our project in two schools. Pat, Kate and Marty spent the morning at Loretto Catholic Elementary school in Niagara Falls and the afternoon in St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Elementary School in Niagara Falls. They shared the first part of their morning in Francesca Wood’s Grade 8 class and the later half in Gary Rolfsen’s Grade 8 class at Loretto. Loretto is very progressive with social media. They have an active twitter account for the school as well as a separate twitter page for Francesca’s class. Throughout the school year, Francesca, Loretto and the Niagara Catholic School Board have been sharing aspects of the program which have riveted the student’s attention. In particular the students have been enthralled about the concepts of a Fixed versus a Growth Mindset. This program is making changes in our young people’s lives. We have shared their posts onto Team Canada 72’s social media platforms. The entire afternoon was spent with Christina (Tina) DellaVentura’s Grade 5 class at St. Vincent de Paul. The other schools piloting our program with the NCDSB are St. Ann (Fenwick), Mother Teresa (St. Catharines), St. Joseph (Grimsby), St. Joseph (Snyder), Our Lady of Fatima (Grimsby) and Denis Morris Catholic High School (St. Catharines). The photos show Pat's visit at Loretto with the two Grade 8 classrooms and their teachers.
Pat Stapleton visited St. Ann Catholic Elementary School in Fenwick, Ontario on June 19, 2019. St. Ann is one of 8 Niagara Catholic District School Board schools that piloted Team Canada 72's National Curriculum project "From Legends to Legacy, 28,800 Seconds, The Power of Teamwork, With Thanks and Gratitude for Being Canadian" in 10 different classrooms. Very special thanks to Grade 4/5 teacher MaryAnn Colitti and principal Jennifer DeCoff for the invitation and the tremendous hospitality. Pat was so impressed in the classroom by the platform that MaryAnn created to develop such great team chemistry. Canada will be a much better place with educators like MaryAnn and Jennifer. You inspire us all.
On Wednesday, June 19, 2019 Team Canada 72 member Pat Stapleton spent the day at two Niagara Catholic District Schools, St. Joseph in Stevensville in the morning and St. Ann in Fenwick in the afternoon. Both schools ran the very successful pilot of Team Canada 72's National Curriculum Project - From Legends to Legacy, 28,800 Seconds, The Power of Teamwork, With Thanks and Gratitude for Being Canadian.
"28,800 Seconds" refers to how many seconds were played in the entire Summit Series. Most people are very familiar with one particular second that came with 34 seconds remaining in Game 8, but this program will teach the students what happened in the other 28,799 seconds and how their life can be changed through The Power of Teamwork.
The Niagara Catholic District School Board piloted the program with rave reviews in 10 classrooms in 8 schools from Grades 4 through Grade 8.
Very special thanks to teachers Mike Vukovic and MaryAnn Colitti and principals Diane Pizale and Jennifer DeCoff for the invitations and hospitality. Pat and our educational team have now visited 5 classrooms. Previous visits included trips to two classrooms at Loretto and a classroom at St. Vincent de Paul schools in Niagara Falls.
by Dave Stubbs/NHL.com
MONTREAL -- Guy Lapointe would have loved nothing better than to celebrate his 72nd birthday on Wednesday with a steak dinner and all the trimmings. But the Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman says he'd happily settle for a bowl of soup broth.
Lapointe is 18 days past an intense five weeks of treatment for a cancer under his tongue, which was diagnosed in mid-December. For seven weeks, beginning in mid-January, he underwent 35 sessions of radiation with three chemotherapy sessions, spaced at the beginning, middle and end of the radiation.
"I've lost 30 pounds, I'm down to about 225. I needed to lose some weight, but I can think of easier ways," Lapointe said Wednesday, his legendary sense of humor intact even if his laugh was neither as deep nor as loud as usual.
Pointu (his nickname is the translation of his surname into French) was a member of the Montreal Canadiens' famed Big Three on defense during the 1970s with Serge Savard and Larry Robinson. Lapointe was a rock on the blue line, a fine rusher and puck-handler whose hands were so soft that coach Scotty Bowman sometimes deployed him as a forward on Montreal's power play.
Lapointe won the Stanley Cup six times with Montreal, and six times was in the top five in voting for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman. He was the runner-up to Boston Bruins icon Bobby Orr in 1972-73.
His career of 884 regular-season and 123 Stanley Cup Playoff games ran from 1968-69 to 1983-84, with his first 777 NHL games and 112 playoff games with the Canadiens. He finished his career by playing with the St. Louis Blues (62 games) and Boston Bruins (45), and his No. 5 was retired by the Canadiens on Nov. 8, 2014, joining the No. 18 of Savard and No. 19 of Robinson.
He also was a stalwart on the blue line for Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, the eight-game series pitting an NHL all-star team against one from the Soviet Union.
Lapointe wept on the ice at Bell Centre during his 2014 jersey retirement, and he's shed a few tears in recent weeks. He has been buoyed by his wife, Louise, during his Canadiens celebration and during his cancer treatment.
"Louise is a wonderful lady," he said. "I've been frustrated with this (cancer), not being able to do the things I've wanted to, but she's been very patient. She's unbelievable. When we're done with this, Louise can be a nurse without ever having gone to school to get her license."
Lapointe says he's often felt like he's been gargling razor blades, "and even when I swallow, it feels like I've got knives in my throat. That's been the toughest part, but it's slowly improving."
He figures he had his last solid meal about five weeks ago. He's getting his nourishment through a feeding tube, though he says he can drink water, "which is a positive.
"I have no idea when I'll be able to eat again," he said. "Everybody's different. Some birthday (broth) would be nice tonight; I'll see if I can swallow that. I tried the other day to eat a bit of chicken noodle soup, but two little noodles got stuck in my throat for about three hours.
"I can't tell you how good a steak would be," he said, laughing again, almost salivating at the thought, "but I think I'm very far away from that. I'm just looking forward to being able to eat so I can gain a bit of weight and get some strength back."
For now, he's dealing with the side effects from the chemotherapy and radiation.
"I can feel nauseous, sick, and some days I don't talk as much as I'd like to because my voice is raw," he said. "I have some blisters on my tongue, and when I talk it hurts because it rubs the inside of my cheek."
With his immune system compromised and the threat of contracting the coronavirus very real, Lapointe says he gets out of the house just long enough to wander into his yard to get some fresh air. He has a follow-up appointment with a doctor scheduled for Friday, but thinks that might be postponed given COVID-19 and his fragile health.
One of the great practical jokers in NHL history, Lapointe won't tip his hand about anything he might have lined up for his doctors when he's finally back to full strength. For now, as always, he sees his glass as being half full.
"I feel sometimes like I'm in a heavyweight fight but it's three against one," Lapointe said. "It's unfair, maybe, but I can tell you this: I'm not going down."
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Summit Series defenseman, the great Alexander Gusev (January 21, 1947 - July 22, 2020) at 73 years of age.
Alexander played in 6 of the 8 Summit Series games scoring a key goal in the Soviet's game five victory.
Alex played for CSKA from 1967-1978. He was a seven-time USSR champion winning the World and European Championships in 1973 and 1974. He competed in the 1976 Canada Cup as well as the 1972 Summit Series.
After Alex's career he coached SKA MVO (Kalinin) from 1984-1990.
Until his death Alex continued to serve in the veteran's tournaments in the "Legends of USSR Hockey."
Our condolences to Alexander's family, teammates and friends.