Memories of the Canada-Russia Summit Series of 1972

JIM KERNAGHAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:46 AM ET

- The beat-up skates on the Soviet players at their first practice in Canada and the tacky uniforms generally.

- The faraway look in Bobby Clarke's eyes after Canada's shocking loss in the opening game in Montreal: It was a look of disbelief, shared by a majority of Montreal Forum fans that Sept. 2, 1972, night.

- Former Soviet star Anatoly Firsov, asking me through an interpreter whether the helmet-less Canadians wore protective cups. Assured they did, he responded as to what they valued most.

- A Soviet "interpreter" (read KGB agent) whisking a player up the stairs of the Royal York Hotel with a pinch hold on his neck.

- The Soviet players reducing a groaning buffet table to empty platters in seconds.

- The fiery Valery Kharlamov, a sure superstar if he were in the NHL, bewildering the Canadians with his speed, power and moves.

- Frank Mahovlich's paranoia.

- The incredible booing of Vancouver fans after Canada lost Game 4.

As far as I know, Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette and I are the only sports writers who covered the '72 series and are still working. Fisher would be the only one who covered it on both sides of the Atlantic, leading to another personal memory:

- Covering the Moscow games off television here for special late-afternoon editions, with a relay of copy-boys running the hard copy to the city desk at the Toronto Star.


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