Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Summit Series

I am sitting with Terry watching the Canada-Russia game.

The pre-game talking heads described vividly the rivalry between the two countries. As Canadians we all believe it is "our game." The first recorded history of our game was described as occuring in Kingston, Ontario where Jennifer now lives. It was first written about in the early 1800's by Lord Haliburton so the Europeans back home could learn how people actually pass their time in the great cold barrens of the new world called Canada. Haliburton named after this man is where our cottage is located. Again I am able to relate our cottage to another blog entry, even in the middle of winter, in the middle of the Olympics...which is where I was actually heading when I first started writing this.

Many people are comparing tonight's game to that game in 1972.

Any Canadian who is old enough can tell you exactly where they were on September 28th 1972. I was in the library at Strathcona Senior Public School (grade 7) where they crammed all of us in to watch the final game between Canada and Russia in the Summit Series. I can still hear Foster Hewett yell "Henderson has scored for Canada!" This was a hockey series which included so many emotions for so many hockey fans and Canadians who weren't hockey fans (if such a person actually exists)

Everyone assumed the Russian national team coming to play an all-star team of CanadianNHL players would be interesting, but Canada would not have any trouble winning. The trouble was, this was before the time of the internet or other communication "behind the iron curtain." Communism was some dark unknown thing but we were confident they certainly could not play hockey as well as we did. We were wrong.

Game Results Canada Wins Series 4-3-1
Game 1 USSR 7 - Canada 3
Game 2 Canada 4 - USSR 1
Game 3 Canada 4 - USSR 4
Game 4 USSR 5 - Canada 3
Game 5 USSR 5 - Canada 4
Game 6 Canada 3 - USSR 2
Game 7 Canada 4 - USSR 3
Game 8 Canada 6 - USSR 5

While we obviously eventually won the series we came to realize hockey was no longer just our game.

It took more lessons to really understand.

Nagano, 1998 -professionals were allowed to participate in the Olympics. We believed a medal (certainly a gold medal) would be an easy thing to attain for Canada. We were wrong....again. A lacklustre performance and once again underestimating our opponents meant we lost in the Bronze medal game to Finland. The next Olympics in Utah 2002 we got our revenge by beating the host country's team -USA!

This history lesson is really just reminiscing about how hockey has changed so much during my life time. Once viewed as the ultimate Canadian past time, it has emerged as a game played around the world (even in Dubai). There are just as many players registered for hockey in the US (465,975) as there as in Canada (499,695).

OK.....enough of the statistics. ...although statistics are an important part of our game of hockey. The stereotypical Canadian is polite at all times, we never brag or make our guests uncomfortable..... except tonight in Vancouver!! YES! We are going to win this game against the Russians and we ARE going to win gold Sunday night against those braggart Americans!!

Sorry if I offended any American or Russian readers out there. You know I am Canadian, eh?


Terry Tromanhauser said...

I'll check out those 1972 links....Thanks

Anonymous said...

Update: Canada beat Russia 7-3!!!

Ed said...

Beliveau, Mahovlich, Mikita, Howe, Hull, Plante, Esposito (both of them), Orr, and so many others! What great memories I have of hockey. What a great game, and yes, I'm a Yank who remembers the 1980 Olympics and the quote, "Do you believe in miracles?" If the US plays Canada for the gold medal, I'll root for the USA, but my money would be on the host country. Yes, it is your game.

Sue said...

Oh Ed!! That list of names certainly takes me back in time. My aunt was a big fan of Frank Mahovlich! I believe after his NHL career was over he started a travel agency. Hard to believe those guys never made enough money to really retire. Far cry from the million dollar contract for the average NHLer these days.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

thanks for nice website about Summit Series 1972. I am big fan of it. I am trying to find a complete games on DVD or in AVI online. There are all games from 1972, but I can not find a complete games from 1974. Do you please any idea, where I could find them? Thanks a lot! Jan (