Congratulations to Canada. Fun to watch, great to win.
This week is also the 20 year anniversary of another very memorable WJC game between these two teams. Canada and Russia met in 1987 at the World Junior’s in Czechoslovakia for an infamous battle—which was quite literally a battle.
A report on TSN the other day reminded me of the fight, with some great “20 Years Later” interviews with a few of the players, including Mike Keenan, Theo Fleury and Sergei Federov. The Wikipedia provides this re-telling of the incident, and is fairly accurate as far as I know it. There’s also a video of the events below.
One of the most infamous incidents in WJHC history occurred in 1987 in Piestany, Czechoslovakia where a massive bench clearing brawl between Canada and the Soviet Union led to both teams being disqualified from the tournament. While the Soviets were out of medal contention, Canada was playing for the gold medal, and were leading 4-2 at the time of the brawl. It began when Pavel Kostichkin took a two handed slash at Theoren Fleury beginning the melee. The Soviet Union’s Evgeny Davydov was the first player off the bench, leading to both benches clearing. The officials could not break up the fight so they left the ice and eventually tried turning out the arena lights. The brawl lasted for 20 minutes. Afterwards, Soviet hockey official Anatoly Kastriukov claimed a trainer for the Canadian team had fuelled hostilities by coming over to the Soviet bench and pummelling one of their assistant coaches. The Canadians maintained that the Soviets had started the brawl by leaving their bench first. Neither team was allowed to attend the players’ banquet at the end of the tournament.