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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 ...

Bata: I was very near the goal and saw the puck in it. So there was no matter for me whether the light was on or off.

Reid: Alan Eagleson went charging around, trying to get to the timer’s booth. I saw this and enlisted two Soviet counterparts to rescue him, because he was being pummelled by militia.

Stapleton: I was actually the first guy over there. And then Peter came flying over the top of me, and hopped the boards to grab Al from these militia guys.

Reid: Peter simply grabbed Alan, took him over the boards and the team took him across the ice to the bench, a rescue of sorts. On the way across the ice, Alan raised his hand in an obscene gesture. At that point, I looked across the VIP area to where premier [Alexei] Kosygin was sitting with our undersecretary, Ed Ritchie. Ritchie had his head in his hands.

Eagleson: I didn’t give the finger. I had my fist out and I put my thumb out – an “Up yours, Charlie” gesture.

Kuperman: There is no such gesture in Russia. It would have meant nothing.

Jim Taylor, Vancouver sportswriter: That’s the only time things became really scary. The Canadians were all screaming, “Let’s go home, let’s go home.” The stadium doors had opened and soldiers were marching in. If one Canadian threw something at those soldiers, there would have been a riot.

Lang: That whole incident could have been avoided. Alan didn’t go out the row and down; he went right overtop and that was the cause of the scuffle. The military were just sitting there and, all of sudden, Alan Eagleson lands on them. They were legitimately wondering who the hell this guy was.

Park: We don’t sit back. We’re not playing for the tie. We put on a full-court press.

MacArthur: It was tied late in the game, so I got out of my seat and headed to the door.

Meeker: I needed to get down from the broadcast seat to do something at ice level. They had a wire fence there to climb down. I remember I saw Henderson come out. That’s right when I started to climb down this fence.

Liapkin: I lost the puck coming out from behind the net. I lost the puck and Paul Henderson got it.

MacArthur: I got to the big swinging doors and Henderson scored. It was unbelievable. Total bedlam. It was a miracle. I went back in. You were hugging total strangers. The Russians were stoic.

Meeker: When the red light went on, I was halfway up the fence – and I damn near fell off.

Kuperman: Henderson’s goal, I remember every moment. It was so strange. It came out of nothing, a broken play. Without this goal, nobody would care about this series anywhere.

Liapkin: We lost the game and that play will be remembered forever. It was not a nice feeling. I wish it didn’t happen, but that’s the game.

Shatalov: We were not so disappointed. The Canadians got lucky. They always played with so much heat, regardless of whether they were ahead or behind in the game.

Park: Exuberance overtook reality. It was like: “Can you believe that?” You had to jump over the bench. This was biggest game that had ever been played in hockey. We were living the greatest comeback that’s ever been.

Plouffe: When Henderson scored, I bounced up again. I’ve never been so proud to be Canadian. These guys with me, these cops, were pissed. They totally died when Henderson scored that goal. It was like they were going to Siberia for five years.

Dryden: I was doing my best sprint down the ice, and then, in the midst of the on-ice celebration, I realize there are still 34 seconds left.

Sinden: I was frightened right to the end. When we started the game up again, I told the guys, “We cannot afford an odd-man rush.” Sure enough, they get a clear three-on-two. [Bill] White and Stapleton broke up the rush, probably for the first time in the series.

Yakushev: We had nothing left. It was done.

Stapleton: Everyone jumped on the ice when it finished up. I went and picked up the puck.

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