September 10, 2012

Things You Did Not Know About 1972 Summit Series

Not everyone knows this: En route to Moscow for their 4 famous games against the Soviets, Team Canada 1972 stopped over in Stockholm for a two game set against Team Sweden. Canada won the first game 4-1, and tied the second game at 4.

The purpose of the stop over was as much to get Team Canada used to the bigger ice surface as it was to grow the game. Good thing, because Canada didn't leave the best impression. Swedish journalist Ulf Jansson followed the rest of Canada's journey to victory in Moscow, and filed this report in Lshockey Magisnet. (translated into English, of course)

Another interesting side note: It was in this set of games that the NHL discovered Borje Salming, its first European trained star.

Here's some other things you probably didn't know about the 1972 Summit Series:

*** In August's training camp Team Canada had three junior players join the team: John Van Boxmeer, Bunny Larocque and Billy Harris.

*** Paul Henderson was reluctant to join Team Canada because he had a vacation on the Rhine River planned with his wife.

*** Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko must not have been impressed with the literary scene in Canada. But he was greatly impressed by Phil Esposito. He acknowledged Espo as Canada's greatest poet.

*** Canada had an American on the team: trainer Frosty Forristall. That's okay, Russia's trainer was a Canadian: UBC's football trainer Rick Noonan.

*** Even weirder - The public address announcer at the Luzhniki Ice Palace in Moscow was a man named Karil Yugorov. He spoke perfect English as well as Russian. That's because he was born as Carl Watts in Winnipeg, but he defected to the Soviet Union! He was secretly cheering for Canada, however.

*** One of the approximately 3000 Canadian fans who travelled to Moscow was 16 year old Randy Gregg - the future Olympian, Stanley Cup champion and doctor. 

*** "Too Many Old Buildings" - That's how third string goalie Ed Johnston summed his interest in touring European cities while touring in 1972. At least Mickey Redmond was impressed with Stockholm. "Looks a lot like Northern Ontario," he said. Moscow reminded Dennis Hull of Buffalo

*** During one of the games in Sweden Wayne Cashman took a stick to the mouth, slicing open his tongue. It took 50 stitches to repair. Ouch!

*** Nearly 3000 Canadians travelled to Moscow for games 5 through 8. But the Soviet authorities managed to screw up the game tickets. Among those scrambling for tickets - Rocket Richard, Punch Imlach, Carl Voss and wrestler Billy Watson.

*** At the conclusion of the series Toronto Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard hinted that the Russians would be in the NHL "within 5 years," possibly by applying for their own franchise.

*** Ballard made headlines when he reportedly offered $1 million for the playing rights of Valery Kharlamov. Ballard's announcement was little more than grand-standing. Weeks after the tournament concluded the Minnesota North Stars actually travelled to Europe with the hopes of getting Kharlamov's release.

*** Jim Taylor's memory of Frank Mahovlich: The Big M did not play games 2 or 3. Instead he sat behind the Soviet bench and sang O Canada over and over again as loudly as he could.

*** No player wore the captain's "C" on Team Canada's jersey. Before the series coach Harry Sinden named Phil Esposito, Jean Ratelle, Stan Mikita and Frank Mahovlich as team captains.

*** Montreal defenseman Jacques Laperriere had to pass up the series due to illness.

*** Several foreign journalists followed the series. Five Soviet journalists came to Canada. Czechoslovakia sent three, Sweden four and Japan and Switzerland one each.


RonNasty said...

I knew about the Swedish games, because there are some really nice glossy pictures in book I have at home. I didn't know the rest tho, thanks.

Anonymous said...

I remember watching the games played in Russia during public school hours here in Canada at school. This series meant alot to Canadians to allow this to happen.