TORONTO – Most Canadian seniors can probably tell you where they were when man walked on the moon in 1969, when Paul Henderson scored the defeat of the Soviets at the Summit Series in 1972.
That is why Canada against Russia Hockey World Cup semi-final on Saturday night (19 pm ET, ESPN) has additional layers of hype. The United States is the No. 1 rival hockey in Canada now, but the Russian rivalry is more a legendary Canada.
“It’s a rivalry that has been around for a long time,” said Canadian center Sidney Crosby. “I think it means (this is) an intense emotional play. Two proud nations when it comes to hockey.”
The Soviets dominated international hockey in the 1960s, but the conventional wisdom of the day was that it would be a different story if they faced the NHL. When they finally paired in the eight-game Summit Series split between Canada and Russia in 1972, he took a memorable Henderson goal to give the NHL a 4-3-1 victory in the series. Here’s how the rivalry was born.
“Everyone who played the game saw the highlights, and knows what this rivalry,” said Canadian forward Corey Perry. “It’s gonna be fun.”
Hockey World Cup began as the Canada Cup in 1976. Soviet TheVladislav Tretiak led to victory in 1981 Canada is among Russians many important hockey triumphs.
At the 1987 Canada Cup, the Canadians defeated the Soviets 6-5 in a game marking Wayne Gretzky Mario Lemieux with 1:26 remaining in regulation. “I think stands out in the minds of everyone,” said Crosby.