It’s a moment Canadians will never forget. Paul Henderson skates down the left side of the ice and scores that winning goal. Thousands of Canadians watching at home stood up and cheered. Canada had won the series, but the game famously meant more than that. Democratic Canada had struck a blow to the Communist U.S.S.R. The 1972 Summit Series is remembered for these obvious political overtones as much as it is remembered for amazing hockey.
The 2012 Russia-Canada Series is different in some ways, but similar in other ways. Russia is no longer Communist and The Cold War has been over for nearly 20 years. But the hockey is just as fast-paced and exciting as it was in 1972. Scores are reaching the same high numbers and the young players are as talented as could be.
Planned as a commemoration of the 1972 Summit Series, the Canada-Russia Challenge marks the 40th anniversary of the eight-game competition. This year’s Canada-Russia Challenge is a four-game series played in Yaroslavi, Russia and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Canada took an early lead, winning the first game 3-2, but Russia took the second game, 6-3.
Halifax hockey fans were treated to a high-scoring matchup between Canada and Russia on Monday. The hometown fans cheered on the young Canadians to three goals, but even that wasn’t enough to take down the Russian powerhouses. Canada lost 6-5 to give Russia the lead in the series, 2-1.
Canada needs to win the final game for a shot at winning the series in a 20-minute overtime after the fourth game. We’ve got the hometown advantage, but we’ll need a huge win, akin to Henderson’s 1972 moments.
The Cold War may be over, but the war on the rink continues. Russia’s won two of the battles, but we think that Canada will win the war in the fourth game and make Canadians stand up and cheer like we did in 1972. Just because the Olympics are over doesn't mean we can let our patriotism subside!