In an effort to recognize the 40th Anniversary of the historic September 1972 Canada-Russia hockey series, I am asking my colleagues to have Toronto celebrate this transformative sporting event.
I will be presenting a motion at Toronto City Council on April 10, directing the city’s economic development and culture department to create a strategy for hosting celebrations, seminars and other recognitions of the series that changed hockey and relations between Canada and the USSR.
This hockey series played a transformative role in internationalizing the game of hockey. Both countries adopted many of the strategies that were previously unknown to one another. North American hockey shortly thereafter included the players, style and strategies of the Russians.
Canada won the series with 4 wins, 3 losses and one tied game.
The series, which occurred during the “Cold War” dramatically, warmed relations between Canada and the Soviet Union. It launched a new generation of international hockey between the two countries and provided for the exchange of ideas, the building of friendships and the eventual reduction of international tensions.
It is my goal as City Councillor to recognize the great importance of how hockey brought Canada and Russia together. We shared a border, the northern hemisphere, and the great love of the world’s fastest team sport.
The motion before City Council will ask the General Manager, Economic Development and Culture report back to City Council on a strategy such that facilitates Toronto’s hosting of events, ceremonies and recognitions of the 40th Anniversary of the Canada-Russia Hockey Series that took place in September 1972. Councillor Pasternak is also asking city staff at the City of Toronto Partnership Office, to assess the degree to which these series of events can be funded in whole or part by corporate partners in the Greater Toronto Area. The motion also asks for the establishment of a strategic working group and for the event to leverage the cultural exchange and economic opportunities that this great sporting event started as an enduring legacy between our two great countries.
The eight-game series consisted of four games in Canada and four games in the Soviet Union, all of them held in Moscow at the Luzhniki Ice Palace.
I attended the first game of the series in Montreal when I was 13 years of age and watched the rest of the games on television, most of which were shown in his middle school during class time. My parents were part of the 3,000 strong contingent of Canadians that travelled to Russian to watch the four games there.
There is much to learn and celebrate by this 40th Anniversary. It will be a great time to look back and compare what was with what might have been. But most important, it is a lasting tribute to the enduring friendship between Canada and Russia.