Russian Hockey Federation president Vladislav Tretiak has called for his country and Canada to revive a ‘super series’ to honor a legendary eight-game showdown between the two powerhouses that he played in 50 years ago, but says efforts so far have been rebuffed by the NHL.
The Soviet Union claimed game one of the Summit Series – also known as the Super Series – by an impressive score of 7-3 in Montreal exactly half a century ago on September 2, 1972, before Canada won game two 4-1.
While game three was drawn 4-4, the Soviets won game four 5-3 before the series headed to their homeland.
The Soviets then claimed game five 5-4 in Moscow, only for the Canadians to edge tight affairs in the Russian capital 3-2, 4-3 and 6-5 to clinch the series 4-3 overall.
#OnThisDay: Do you remember the 1972 Summit Series?Canada would go on to beat the Soviet Union with 4 wins, 3 losses and 1 tie in the 8 game series – but it wasn’t without controversy pic.twitter.com/SDxQA0gIZH
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) September 8, 2019
Speaking to RIA Sport, former goaltender and member of the Soviet squad Tretiak proposed a repeat of the showdown where even in defeat the USSR’s reputation was bolstered worldwide as it was shown that they could compete with the North Americans who boast the sport’s strongest league in the NHL.
“I think that it would be interesting of course, for both Canadian fans and Russian fans,” Tretiak said, before noting how the 25th anniversary was widely celebrated.
“In Canada they issued [commemorative] stamps and dollars, there were very big celebrations,” Tretiak pointed out.
However, the NHL refused to consider repeating the series with Russia, according to Tretiak.
“I went to the president of the National Hockey League, Hockey Canada, [and] even the Prime Minister,” Tretiak said.
“The prime minister said it was interesting, but the NHL said it no longer was. Why?
“Many Russian hockey players play in the NHL. Why only with Russia? Finns, Swedes play, Czechs. In general, they did not accept this idea,” Tretiak concluded.
Any current NHL refusal to sign up could be linked to its commitment to follow International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) guidelines that see Russian teams banned from international competitions as a response to the military operation in Ukraine.
The NHL has also cut commercial ties with Russia for the time being, and commissioner Bill Daly said that there was “still uncertainty about the potential for Russia to have a team” in the World Cup planned for 2024, when the idea was unveiled last month.
For Russian hockey legend Viacheslav Fetisov, though, a World cup without Russia and stars such as Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin and Artemi Panarin is hard to fathom.
“I can’t believe it,” Fetisov said. “If you have these guys playing in the [NHL], why can’t you make a team out of them?
“Based on logic and reason, I think the Russian team will participate in the World Cup,” Fetisov stated.