Moscow has changed since 1972 Summit Series

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:31 PM ET

MOSCOW - A trip through the Kremlin.

Tasty meals.

Friendly and smiling people everywhere.

It's all tough to come to terms with for players who were in Moscow in 1972.

"The whole experience, Moscow 2012 versus Moscow 1972, is surreal," said Rod Seiling. "It's a different world. It's a different country. It's a different time.

"The fact the hotel we're staying in (the opulent Ritz Carlton) is on the site of the old Intourist -- where we stayed in 1972 and may have been one of the worst hotels ever operated in the world -- shows you how far Russia has come.

"It's upside-down."

When the first Canadians arrived in Moscow for the Summit Series 40th anniversary celebrations, they were treated like royalty. A tasty lunch was followed by a lengthy tour of the Kremlin, including the beautiful cathedrals and the armoury, a museum with more value and history imaginable.

Who would have thought that possible back in 1972?

"Everywhere we went, we were controlled," Seiling said. "Where we could go, what we could do, was controlled. Today, we strolled through the Kremlin and the armoury, and the only security is there more to help you than anything else."

And the food?

"The food back in 1972, most of it you wouldn't serve to your dog. The food today is as good as you can get, whether you're in New York, Paris or Toronto. It's the best."

It sure isn't the same city they experienced 40 years ago.

When the players arrived in 1972 for the second half of the Summit Series, they were "greeted" at the airport by a regiment of Red Army soldiers, with their machine guns on full display. It's much friendlier now.

Although, it remains incredibly clean.

"Just outside the hotel I saw two sanitation workers cleaning the sidewalk, just like you'd see in any other place," Seiling said. "In 1972, you would have seen a old grandmother with half a cornbroom, bent over sweeping the sidewalks."

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak


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