Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 08/23/07 at 02:26 PM ET
From Spector at his FoxSports blog today:
Thirty-five years ago this September, the greatest international series in hockey history took place when a group of Canadian NHL stars faced off against the elite players from the then-Soviet Union.
This year, starting August 27th and running until September 9th the best under-20 junior players from Canada and Russia will face off in their own eight game series.
The 1972 Summit Series was a seminal event in Canadian hockey history. Its reinvention in the form of the Super Series promises excellent entertainment, despite having little chance of carrying the same historical importance. As Future Considerations noted recently, “this is not your Daddy’s summit series.” Quite true, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are some resources to check out for the upcoming games.
Joe Pelletier—writer of the 1972 Summit Series website—has also started a companion blog, looking at the original series in various posts. It’s on the blog that he’ll also be dedicating a fair amount of time to the Super Series when it starts. As Joe points out about 1972, “the drama, the intrigue, the passion, the heartache and the joy will never be duplicated.” But he knows there will still be plenty of stories worth telling from this new era, so keep an eye on his updates.
Other resources of information…
Television coverage will be complete for Canadian viewers, but tricky for those of you outside the country. TSN, Sportsnet and RDS are—between them—going to be carrying all eight games. That will include broadband streaming on TSN as well. But a phone call to TSN has given us the official position that they cannot/will not allow non-Canadian IP addresses to watch the stream online. There are ways around this (anyone who has proxy suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments of this post) but as of now, there are no plans for anyone to make the games available outside of Canada.
The Canadian Press looks at the match-up between the Russian and Canadian juniors and notes that, even though it’s 35 years later and an entirely different political landscape than what surrounded the original series, there is still potential for intrigue. And history will still be a part of that intrigue:
It would be a tall order for this Super Series of under-20 players to replicate that drama.
After all, these players were born 16, 17 and 18 years after Paul Henderson scored the iconic winning goal for Canada.
But Canadian head coach Brent Sutter, who was a Grade 5 student in Viking, Alta., when he watched the series on television at school, doesn’t believe his players feel disconnected from 1972.
“I think the kids will eventually clue in and catch onto it. They’re already asking a lot of questions,” he said. “They want us to put a tape together of the 1972 series so they can see it before we go over.
“I think their parents and agents have been talking to them a lot about it.”
My own experience of the ‘72 series are simply legends created by the country I grew up in. Not actually having seen the games, my memories are entirely from documentaries, anniversary features in the news, and family stories. My father could tell me every minute of his experience of those historical games—where he was, what he saw, his passionate hatred/love/jubilation at every notable turn. His memories have long since become my own and I almost feel like I experienced them personally.
It will be hard not to think of that history while watching this modern matchup. I’ll leave with some final comments by Future Considerations:
There will not be a lack of intensity here. No doubt the Russians remember the last two consecutive World Junior Championships. The Canadians haven’t forgotten it either. Put these kids on the ice for a total of 480 minutes and you can believe the blood will be boiling and that there’s something on the line. Pride, ego and a sheer desire to win will fuel this intensity.
Doesn’t that sound fun? Bring it on, I say.
Note: if anyone can recommend some additional resources on the Russian team, please feel free to add them to the comments here. Thanks.
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