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1972 Summit Series 40th Anniversary: A Preview


The Canadian players and fans alike all had the same feeling. That we were better at hockey than the Russians. That we were gonna "wipe the floor" with them. That they didn't have a chance against a super NHL-laden roster. This was the first time any Russian team had played a group from Canada that was this talented. It was the first time they played NHL players. Usually Canada sent amateurs to any international hockey events.

The Russians stated before the series started that they were a bit scared. They saw the size of some of the Canadian players, but they were more fearful of getting their butts handed to them in an 8-game series. Keep in mind that all 8 games were going to be played no matter what. The Russians knew how good the Canadian players were. They heard the stories. We were legends, and here they are coming all the way over here, most of them for the first time ever, to play a series against these giant skilled players.

What transpired was absolutely unpredictable. History was about to be made. A nation that was

quite divided at the time was about to come together for a hockey series. The Soviet team and it's attention to detail and skill was about to surprise everyone, to the point of Canadian fans booing their own players with our hockey supremacy pushed to the brink of defeat.

So what is the greatest sports event in Canadian (and arguably even hockey) history?

Sidney Crosby's golden goal in Vancouver at the 2010 Winter Olympics?

Damn that still gives me the chills and great feelings of joy just watching the reactions / goal, but NO! This is not it.

Mario Lemieux's winning goal at the 1987 Canada Cup?

I remember that moment too. It was magnificent! But no.

"Do you believe in miracles?

I am using the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid as an example because I am comparing the 1972 Summit Series to not only Canadian hockey events. Obviously, the amateur American team that upset the veteran Soviet squad at those Olympics is arguably the biggest hockey event in the U.S.A's history, and what an upset that was! But no. That does not top 1972.

This moment tops it all:

Dubbed the "Goal Of The Century." Rightfully so. Any Canadian who was alive in 1972 (I wasn't) and old enough to remember that series will also remember where they were at the time Paul Henderson scored that goal.

Hell, in Canada, that moment is one of the most significant events in our history. If you like hockey, it's definitely a top 10 moment and there is nothing wrong with that. The Series will live in infamy, in both Canada and Russia. The rest of the countries will just have to live with us talking about it for an eternity.

Over the course of the month of September, I / we will be doing a little something to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the monumental 1972 Summit Series. On the 40th anniversary of each game played we will have a game recap / in a sort of live blog format of each game. Basically, I have watched the games on DVD and brought the events to you as they happened. I am hoping that people can re-live it, and for those not old enough to have experienced it to learn about this series. Here are the dates of the games and the dates the recaps will go up:

Game 1: September 2

Game 2: September 4

Game 3: September 6

Game 4: September 8

Game 5: September 22

Game 6: September 24

Game 7: September 26

Game 8: September 28

Hope you enjoy it!

You will be hearing a lot about the '72 series over the next month from many outlets. 14 surviving members of that Canadian squad are heading to Russia for celebrations. Paul Henderson is not one of them. He is battling leukemia.

For the record, I will be using Joe Pelletier's superb 1972 Summit Series: A September To Remember website and even Paul Henderson's book called Shooting For Glory as references.

Speaking of Pelletier, the hockey history buff from Terrace BC will be covering much of the festivities from his other site I recommend any work that Joe does. Keep an eye on that site!

Go Canada!