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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 ...

Smith: We had a totem pole that we brought over from Canada to bring out on the ice as a gift and they told us it wasn’t in the program. I told their guy, Gresko, “Look, you got to present your petrushka dolls in Canada; this is our gift and we’re going to bring it on the ice.” He said, if we did that, all TV coverage would be cut. So, before the faceoff, we snuck on the ice with this thing, made our presentation and nothing happened.

Dowling: You could tell the referees weren’t prepared for the amount of activity and pressure about to come their way. They looked uncomfortable.

Bata: Three or four minutes in, my counterpart Kompalla called a two-minute penalty on J.P. Parise. It was crazy.

Sinden: The referees were susceptible to embarrassment. That’s why, after Parise’s penalty, I went crazy behind the bench. The players did too.

Bata: Parise was crazy, crazy. He didn’t like the call. Kompalla called a misconduct, and Parise then skated at us with his stick up and cried, “I’ll kill you.”

Liapkin: It was incorrect behaviour. Parise was a bully. The penalty was just.

Sinden: I was across the ice from where the incident happened and I couldn’t get the refs’ attention – so I grabbed a little stool and threw it at them.

Bata: Soon, everything was on the ice: the benches, stools, everything.

Sinden: To tell you the truth, I was acting. I knew exactly what I was doing. I remember Ken Dryden skated up to me and said: “Take it easy, coach.” I calmed down instantly and said, “Kenny, you haven’t stopped a puck for seven games. Get back in your net.”

Bata: I skate to the penalty box and tell the off-ice official, who was the second chief of Russian hockey, “The game is over. We can play no more.”

Sinden: I hadn’t heard that for sure until now, that Bata was going to call the game. It could have been over. That’s scary to look back at that, it really is.

Bata: The Soviet official said, “Rudy, be so kind and finish the game. We have to play and we have to finish in regular time. Please try.” I decided to listen to him. God helped me in that moment.

Yakushev: We would not have been happy to let that happen, to have the Canadians disqualified. We don’t need that kind of win, it would have been tainted.

Sinden: The game calmed down after that. The officiating became better.

Bata: Kompalla was out for the rest of the game. He didn’t blow his whistle at all after that.

Park: We were playing okay, but after the second period we were losing 5-3. And we were all saying to one another, “Okay, let’s tie this thing up.” That would have split the series. But then Harry and Eagleson at some point tell us [that] would give them the victory because they scored more goals over the eight games.

Knox: Things were nervous up in the stands, tense. I remember talking to Patrick Reid, and he said, “If we don’t get a goal quick, we’re screwed.” Nobody wanted to imagine what would happen in there if we lost.

Cole: Sure enough, they scored right out of the gate. It was a hockey game now.

Esposito: Peter [Mahovlich] made the play that changed the game, in my mind. We needed a very quick goal and he took the puck from behind our net, all the way up the right side, shot it in and, blasting in there, knocked [defenceman Vladimir] Lutchenko off the puck, put it out in the slot for me. Tretiak went down, and then, on the second try, I put it in.

Park: We tied it up with nine minutes left.

Plouffe: When [Yvan] Cournoyer scored, I bounced up. I mean, it was the tying goal – it was a reflex. The police grabbed me and sat me down. I was the only one in that section who was standing up.

Eagleson: I see the light doesn’t come on and think they’re trying to pull another fast one. So I get out of my seat to go set this straight.

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