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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: Our hotel was 10 or 15 minutes from where the players were staying. I used to play the bugle. There was a ramp to a big window overlooking the street. I stood up there in just my pants and played O Canada. People on the street laughed. Then I got my Canadian flag out on a hockey stick. The police started knocking on my door 10 minutes later.

Hadfield: I’ll always remember landing there in Moscow. They wouldn’t let us fly in until very late at night. Then they get us to the hotel and the rooms were unbelievable. Little wee tiny rooms, little wee tiny beds. So we kicked up a fuss. They changed it eventually. They were always testing you.

Dryden: On an NHL team, you always stay at the same chain hotel. You don’t want to be distracted. Here, you have all these things that were different: the food, traffic, everything.

Zeldin: The lobby abounds with people standing around. Most of them are dressed in dark suits and turtleneck sweaters and they really look like the epitome of KGB men in spy pictures.

Eagleson: The guys met their wives there in Moscow, but were none too pleased when they got to their rooms. The beds were nailed into the wall and a lot of the beds formed an L shape. So, they couldn’t sleep together. Mine at least had twin beds. The room was 20 by 20 at most. But it was their best hotel.

Awrey: My roommate was Pete Mahovlich. The guy is six-and-a-half feet tall, and the two beds had this strange end-to-end configuration. So I had Mahovlich’s feet in my face all night.

Hadfield: The next morning, we go down and someone has stolen all our food. We had to eat Russian food. It was just awful.

Smith: I had to look into the case of the stolen steaks. I think it was likely some guy involved with the hotel, rather than someone thinking the Canadians wouldn’t be able to play without their steaks.

David Pawlik: My family is of Ukrainian descent. In 1972, my father wrote to relatives in Ukraine, saying I was going over for a hockey tournament. They thought I was going over to play, and didn’t know which hotel I was staying at, so decided to go to the arena. There was no one by my name on the team, so they figured maybe the name was shortened from Pawlik to Park.

Park: Through the interpreter I just kind of nodded my head – my family is from Scotland!

Sinden: The average NHL star, you know, they’re pampered quite a bit. Not over there. But I knew we were ready, at least the ones who didn’t leave.

Hadfield: NHL training camp was starting up, I had just signed a five-year contract with the Rangers and we were told those of us who weren’t playing could either go home or stay – but if you stayed, you couldn’t practise.

Marcel Dionne, Canadian forward: There was a lack of communication. With Harry Sinden, he rarely took guys aside to talk things over with them.

Hadfield: Eagleson told me he’d hold a press conference and announce the players who were leaving and why.

Eagleson: I said to Harry, “Christ, I don’t know what’s happening, but we can’t afford a mutiny now.”

Hadfield: There were supposed to be 15 of us coming home, but the following day I found out there were just three. We were calm because we thought Eagleson was handling everything. Then we get home and we don’t see anything in the papers except stories about us being deserters. Eagleson never did the press conference.

Eagleson: What was I going to say to the press? It’s too bad, because I do like Vic; he’s a good man, but he quit.

Park: We told him he’d be crucified. But Vic thought he’d been insulted and he was a proud guy. I can understand his point of view.

Moscow, Game 5: Officiating ‘stunk’

Kuperman: We tried to get tickets. My dad was trying. It was impossible. For the fourth game, they were 100 rubles. The monthly salary at the time was 120 rubles.

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