Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Covering The Summit Series In The US

10/01/2022 at 9:25am EDT

from Stan Fischler's Bluelines at The Hockey News,

New York Times hockey writer Gerald Eskenazi covered the 1972 Summit Series. In his following piece, he explains how different the American reaction was to the tournament. Our George Grimm reached Jerry and offers the following insights:

It's hard to believe in this technology-laden age of 24-Hour sports coverage, but 50 years ago when Canada faced off against Russia in the Summit Series, the games were not initially scheduled to be broadcast in the United States.

None of the major networks were interested, including NBC which was about to embark on its “Peter Puck” era of hockey coverage.

“The interest in hockey in the United States in two neutral teams was not enough to galvanize the networks or the fans," recalls Eskenazi. “The only people in the US who saw it over regular television were those living near the Canadian border, where they could pick up the Canadian station. So that gave WNET-13, the public broadcasting system in New York, a chance to show it. It also helped that the president of the network was a hockey fan. They used it as a fund-raiser and at the time it became the highest rated show in their history.”

Eskenazi, author of “A Year on Ice,” as well as many books on hockey, football, and baseball, was in Toronto covering the Summit series, when he was called back to New York to serve as an in-studio host for the broadcasts. Since 13 of the NHL’s 16 teams that season were based in the United States, Jerry thought that the league missed a chance to continue to sell the sport in America via network telecasts in America.

“It would have been a great opportunity, but again this was not something that Americans could relate to if they weren’t hockey fans. We had no concept of what the series meant to Canadians.

more and many more hockey notes....

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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