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Prime minister Pierre Trudeau drops the puck for Canada's Phil Esposito, right, and Soviet winger Vladimir Vikulov to open the 1972 hockey series. (Peter Bregg)
Prime minister Pierre Trudeau drops the puck for Canada's Phil Esposito, right, and Soviet winger Vladimir Vikulov to open the 1972 hockey series. (Peter Bregg)

'72 SUMMIT SERIES

The story of the Summit Series, as it's never been told before Add to ...

Plouffe: We all had one another’s back, all 3,000. When the police tried to get my bugle, everyone else in the stands helped out.

Conacher: Those fans were like a seventh player for Team Canada. It was a crowd the likes of which the Soviets had never seen.

Yakushev: I wasn’t surprised by the Canadians being loud. I was far more surprised at the Russians being so quiet. The higher officials knew nothing about hockey – they just sat there as if they were at the theatre.

Park: We knew we couldn’t afford to lose another one. In my first few shifts, I hit everything and threw down all I had.

Yakushev: The roles were reversed. We became too confident. We had to win one of three at home – how hard could that be?

Esaw: At one point in the sixth game, Bobby Clarke had to take out [Valeri] Kharlamov. Thank God he did, because that line was that good.

Yakushev: The slash was intentional and horrible. It was such a pity Kharlamov could not play any more. We missed him. I am certain we would have won with him in the lineup.

Conacher: To me, it was the low point of the series. It showed how desperate Canada was. It still leaves a bad taste in my mouth because it changed the series from a sport to something else.

Dionne: Bobby Clarke was a big part of our team, but I didn’t agree with what he did to Kharlamov. You try to break someone’s ankle, what does that prove? And he did that, he broke the guy’s ankle.

Esposito: This is something Paul Henderson and I totally disagree on. Bobby Clarke was like me and some of the other guys: Whatever it took to win, he had to do.

Sinden: Would you believe me if I told you I didn’t know anything about it until it hit the papers? I don’t recall anyone saying. “Bobby, go get him.”

Park: That was the first of a couple games where we were spending half the game in the penalty box, but we still won.

Cole: Game 6 was a great game and Henderson got the first of his game-winning goals for the Canadians.

Eagleson: On that night, [my wife] Nancy grabbed Paul and said, “You can do it, Paul, you can do it.” She’s convinced to this day that she got the goal.

Cole: I got back to the hotel and I was waiting for the elevator with Paul Henderson. I turned to him and said, “You ever think you’d get a goal like that, Paul?” He said, “No, never. That was quite something wasn’t it?”

Plouffe: I go back to the Intourist, and end up in a room with John Ferguson, Phil Esposito, Don Awrey and Pete Mahovlich. Pete says, “Get us drinks, Pierre.” I went to the bar, and this big lady who served me every night said, “We’re closed.” As I argue, I get pissed off. There were 50 bottles of Champagne on the bar. I accidentally hit a bottle. It spun, fell and broke a bunch of glasses. As I was backing up, I hit a table and broke another bunch of glasses.

Reid: The bar was smashed. The bottles in the bar were all smashed. It was a one-man wrecking crew. The militia soon descended.

Plouffe: Some big guy comes down. I was 21, 22 at the time. I was in good shape. This big guy in a black sweater was enormous. He sort of pushed me around and talked to me in Russian. As I was going up some stairs, he pushed me. For some reason, I punched him. I hurt my hand more than I hurt him – he was made of brick. Next thing I know, he blows a whistle and a bunch of cops surround me.

Reid: The young man was incarcerated.

Plouffe: They took me to a room and started to yell things. The translator gets there, tells me they want my flag and bugle. I said, “You might get my bugle, but you’ll never get my flag.” They let me out around 6 in the morning.

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