Skip to main content

1976 Canada Cup

Sittler's Heroics Capture
Inaugural Canada Cup

The first Canada Cup was held in 1976.  Unlike 1972, the Soviet Union's purposefully weakened representatives proved to be inferior as Canada would roll through the tournament with relative ease except for one exception - the defending world champions from Czechoslovakia.

Czechoslovakia was backed by unorthodox goaltender Vladimir Dzurilla, a boyhood idol of Dominik Hasek. Dzurilla, a lanky refrigerator repairman by trade, stoned Team Canada much in the same way Vladislav Tretiak did in the 1972 Summit Series. In fact Canada's only loss in the Round Robin was a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Dzurilla.  Czechoslovakia was also led by leading scorer Milan Novy, who would be named as the the CSSR Most Valuable Player at the end of the tournament.

The tournament was Bobby Orr's first international tournament, and he did not disappoint, as he was named the Cup's most valuable player and tied Soviet forward Victor Zhluktov for the scoring lead. 6 of Zhluktov's 9 points came in one game - a Canada Cup record!

Canada was also led by strong goaltending throughout the tournament, something which was at times lacking in 1972. Rogie Vachon, who was a late addition to training camp thanks to a Ken Dryden injury, statistically was the best goaltender, going 6-1-0 with 2 shutouts and 1.39 GAA.

The Swedes were led by Toronto Maple Leaf standout Borje Salming. It was Salming - not Orr or Lafleur - who was the tournament's most popular player, at least in Toronto and Sweden

The lasting memory of the 1976 Canada Cup is of Darryl Sittler scoring the winning goal of the first overtime period, giving Team Canada the inaugural championship. Sittler broke in off the left wing and - following the advice of assistant coach Don Cherry - faked a booming slap shot causing Dzurilla to fall to his knees. Once the star goalie was down, Sittler skated by and popped the puck into the wide open night.

Results and Statistics
Round Robin
Sept 2 
  Canada 11 Finland 2 (Ottawa)
Sept 3   Sweden 5 USA 2 (Toronto)
           CSSR 5  USSR 3 (Montreal)
Sept 5   Sweden 3 USSR 3 (Montreal)
           CSSR 8 Finland 0 (Toronto)
           Canada 4 USA 2 (Montreal)
Sept 7   USSR 11 Finland 3 (Montreal)
           CSSR 5 USA 0 (Philadelphia)
           Canada 4 Sweden 0 (Toronto)
Sept 9   Finland 8 Sweden 6 (Winnipeg)
           USSR 5 USA 0 (Philadelphia)
           CSSR 1 Canada 0 (Montreal)
Sept 11  USA 6 Finland 3 (Montreal)
           Sweden 2 CSSR 1 (Quebec)
           Canada 3 USSR 1 (Toronto)

Sept 13 Canada 6 CSSR 0 (Toronto)Sept 15 Canada 5 CSSR 4 OT (Montreal)

Scoring Leaders
Goalie Leaders

Team MVPs
Canada   -   Rogie Vachon
CSSR   -   Milan Novy
Finland    -   Matti Hagman
Sweden   -   Borje Salming
USA    -   Robbie Ftorek
USSR   -   Alexander Maltsev

Tournament MVP
Bobby Orr - Canada

One of my favorite collectible items I own are these 1976 Canada Cup posters. Due to a lack of wall space I have yet to display them. They are still in the packaging tube - what an absolute shame. These are beautiful items:


AndreB said…
What was Denis Potvin's problem with showing respect to Bobby Orr during this tournament? Heck, they finished tied with each other as Canada's leading scorers, but Potvin did so on two healthy legs to Orr's ONE. Despite playing on healthier wheels and better teams in the 4-time Cup Champion Islanders, Potvin never came close to matching Orr's scoring records, career plus/minus average per game or his jaw-dropping ability to control the action on the ice. Show respect Denis, not envy. No wonder envy is one of the 7 deadly sins.

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M