Canada Russia '72

Canada Russia '72 is a 2006 Canadian documentary-style miniseries about the 1972 Summit Series. The two-part miniseries was directed by T. W. Peacocke and written by Barrie Dunn and Malcolm MacRury. Canada Russia '72 first aired on consecutive nights on CBC on April 9 and 10 of 2006.[1]

Canada Russia '72
Canada Russia 1972.jpg
Written byBarrie Dunn
Malcolm MacRury
Directed byT. W. Peacocke
StarringBooth Savage
Judah Katz
Mark Owen
Sonia Laplante
David Berni
Gabriel Hogan
Mike Dopud
Sebastien Roberts
Louis Philippe Dandenault
Jeff Roop
Hugh Thompson
David Alexander Miller
Gerry Dee
Chris Szarka
John Bregar
Yuriy Sobeshchakov
Daniel Matmor
Walter Learning
Country of originCanada
ProducersTimothy M. Hogan (executive)
Barrie Dunn
Rick LeGuerrier
Michael Volpe
Running time180 minutes (2 parts)
Maple Pictures
Original networkCBC
Original releaseApril 9 (2006-04-09) –
April 10, 2006 (2006-04-10)


Part 1Edit

The miniseries begins in medias res on September 8, 1972, as Team Canada takes the ice for Game 4 of the series in Vancouver. The team is shocked from the boos they receive from their home crowd and the cheers for the Soviet team. The film then cuts back five months earlier to April 1972 with Alan Eagleson meeting with Gabrielle Fournier, an official with External Affairs Canada, and the heads of the Soviet (headed by Alexander Gresko) and Canadian hockey programmes (headed by Joe Kryczka and Charles Hay) in Prague, Czechoslovakia. They finalize the deal for an eight-game hockey series between the USSR and a team compiled of the best Canadian NHL players.

Eagleson travels to Rochester to seek out former Boston Bruins coach Harry Sinden and convinces Sinden to coach the team. Sinden's interview with the Hockey Canada brass does not go well because of Joe Kryczka's doubt of his capabilities and disagreement over wanting John Ferguson as an assistant coach, but Eagleson convinces them to hire Sinden, claiming he's the coach the players want. Sinden announces the roster of "Team Canada" in July at a press conference in Toronto. The roster includes notable players Phil Esposito, Paul Henderson, Ken Dryden, Vic Hadfield, Rod Gilbert, Bobby Clarke, Gary Bergman, Frank Mahovlich and Peter Mahovlich.

Team Canada's training camp begins in August, with many of the players arriving out of shape and not taking the camp seriously. In the weeks before the series begins, it becomes increasingly clear that most Canadians expect an eight-game sweep. Shortly prior to Game 1, Sinden privately confesses to Eagleson that he doesn't think the team is ready. Team Canada's scout reports to Sinden and Ferguson that the Soviets are a slow, poorly skilled team with the exception of one player, Valeri Kharlamov ("Karla-something") and that their goalie, Vladislav Tretiak (mispronounced "Tet-tri-ak"), couldn't stop a bus. Some of the Canadian players attend a Soviet practice and spend it laughing at the Soviet players, until Kharlamov shoots a puck into the stands at them, creating instant hostility between the teams.

Game 1 in Montreal starts out as expected, with Esposito scoring less than 30 seconds into the game. Five minutes later, Henderson scores to give the Canadians a 2-0 lead. However, the Soviets quickly respond back and tie the game 2-2 before the first period is over. The Canadian players become fatigued by the rising temperature in the Montreal Forum, making it continuously more difficult for them to play. Kharlamov scores twice on Dryden in the second period, giving the Soviets a 4-2 lead. Throughout the game, Tretiak proves to be impregnable as a goalie, and the fatigue of the Canadian players is noticeably shown. The Soviets defeat the Canadians 7-3 in Game 1.

Team Canada and the country are left in shock after their defeat, and the team begins to receive large amounts of criticism. For Game 2 in Toronto, Sinden takes Hadfield and his line out of the lineup and replaces them with grinders (Wayne Cashman, J.P Parise and Bill Goldsworthy). Hadfield does not take the decision lightly and invades Sinden's dressing room to express his disapproval. Also, Tony Esposito replaces Dryden in net. During the practice, Frank Mahovlich notices politician Robert Stanfield in the stands wearing a Team Canada jersey and talking with Alan Eagleson. Frank complains about this to Sinden, claiming they're not playing the series for the politicians. Frank then leaves the practice in protest. Before Game 2, Frank privately confesses to Pete his fear of losing the series to Communists.

Team Canada wins Game 2 4-1, tying the series at 1-1. After the game, frustrated Soviet coach Vsevolod Bobrov invades the officials dressing room, angrily complaining about their officiating and Team Canada's play.

In Winnipeg, Gresko and Bobrov request that the referees who officiated Game 2 not officiate again and that the referees who officiated Game 1 work Game 3 and 4. Although initially objecting due its violation of the series contract, Eagleson agrees to the request, thinking the Russians will know they owe them one. Much to his frustration, Hadfield sits out Game 3 too. In Game 3, Team Canada builds a 3-1 lead, but the Soviets come back and the game ends in a 4-4 tie. While sitting in the airport before a flight to Vancouver, Frank expresses his paranoia about the Soviets further to Serge Savard.

As they prepare for Game 4 in Vancouver, Sinden and Ferguson decide to put Dryden and the Hadfield line back in the lineup. When Team Canada takes the ice for the game, they are booed by the Vancouver fans. Seconds later, the Soviets take the ice and are cheered by the Vancouver fans, leaving the team shocked and frustrated. In the first five minutes of the game, Goldsworthy takes 2 penalties, both resulting in goals for the Soviets. Trailing after the second period, Esposito tells Henderson that he wants to give the fans a piece of his mind. Team Canada loses the game 5-3, falling behind in the series 2 games to 1 (with one tied) going to Moscow. As the team is booed off the ice, Esposito stays back for an interview. Esposito emotionally remarks on his disappointment in the Canadian crowd, and claims that they're only playing because they love Canada.

Part 2Edit

Part 2 begins with Alan Eagleson being interviewed on the CBC TV show Front Page Challenge, in which Eagleson comments on his disapproval of the Vancouver fans. While waiting in the Vancouver airport, Eagleson receives news that Frank Mahovlich will not be travelling to Sweden for their exhibition game due to allergies. At a reception with the Canadian ambassador at Canada's Embassy in Stockholm, Sinden promises their game against the Swedish national team will just be "a friendly game of shinny". However, the game turns into a brutal one. Sinden and Ferguson become aggravated by the officiating of Josef Kompalla and Franz Baader. During the game, a Swedish player slashes Wayne Cashman in the mouth and slices his tongue, in which no call is made and a fight ensues. After the game, Sinden and Ferguson follow the officials to their dressing room, angrily complaining about Cashman's cut. Back at the hotel, Hadfield has a private conversation with Eagleson, in which he expresses his concern of Sinden's coaching. The next day, Frank Mahovlich rejoins the team, which Hadfield takes as a sign that he will not play. It is also there that Eagleson informs the team that there will be no room in the hotel in Moscow for the players' wives. Esposito, fed up with all the bad press, ridicule, and contempt that the team has received during the series, leads the team in threatening to not go to Russia if their wives don't.

As they arrive at the hotel in Moscow, Gabrielle Fournier warns the team about getting in trouble in Russia. Before practice, Hadfield sees that he is not playing in Game 5. A frustrated Hadfield has an argument with Sinden during practice, which subsequently results in Hadfield leaving the team and going back to Canada, along with a few other players.

Team Canada builds a 4-1 lead in the 3rd period of Game 5. During the celebration of Canada's fourth goal, a Soviet soldier pulls a Canadian fan who was making noise by blowing into a plastic horn out of the crowd and drags him into a backroom. Ms. Fournier runs after them and gets Gresko to go talk to the police. Gresko tells her that he is being arrested for assault. As Ms. Fournier waits for the police to come out, she hears the crowd roar several times. She finally goes back in to check the score and it's 4-4. The Soviets then score another goal and win the game 5-4, scoring four unanswered goals in the third period. The next morning, Fournier makes a deal with the Soviet police to free the Canadian fan on the condition that he leaves the country immediately. The now fully shaved fan confesses to Fournier that the police took his clothes, hung him by his ankles, and tattooed his heels.

Back at the hotel, Cashman, Esposito, and Bergman decide to search Bergman's room for bugs. Thinking they have found something under the carpet, they unscrew a box and hear a noise from below. They go to the lobby and see they unscrewed the system that was holding up a chandelier, thus causing the chandelier to shatter all over the floor.

For Game 6, Sinden puts Dryden back in net. During the warm-ups for the game, Sinden and Ferguson notice that Baader and Kompalla, the "two clowns" from Sweden are officiating. The two referees call penalties against the Canadians all game long. At one point, Esposito collides with a Soviet player, cutting him below his eye. Although no penalty is called, Bobrov tells the player to show Kompalla the blood. After seeing the player's cut, Kompalla gives Esposito a 5-minute major penalty. Sinden angrily objects, claiming it a penalty for bleeding. As Kharlamov continues to dominate the game, Ferguson leans over and whispers something in Bobby Clarke's ear. Henderson, who is sitting next to Clarke, is shocked at what he overhears, although he says nothing. On his next shift, Clarke comes up behind Kharlamov and aggressively slashes him on the ankle, injuring him. Henderson scores later in the game and the Canadians hold on for a 3-2 win. After the game, Gresko and Bobrov express their anger to the camera crew about Clarke's slash. Fournier confronts Ferguson about the slash, to which Ferguson replies he doesn't care how his team wins, just as long as they win.

The next day Sinden, Ferguson, and Eagleson meet with Gresko about Baader and Kompalla. Gresko agrees that they will not officiate again in the series on several conditions that Sinden objects to, but they accept anyway. For Game 7, Kharlamov sits out due to his ankle injury. During the game, a fight breaks out between the teams. During the fight, Soviet player Boris Mikhailov kicks Bergman with his skate. Late in the game, Henderson dekes several defensemen and scores, giving Team Canada a 4-3 lead and the win. In the dressing room after the game, Bergman shows the team his blooded shin pad as a result of Mikhailov's kick. Ferguson takes the shin pad and shows it to Fournier.

The next day, Gresko goes back on his promise and says Badder and Kompalla will officiate Game 8. Ferguson threatens they will not play if they do. Eagleson and the coaches hold out their decision to not play, until the next day when Fournier suggests a deal in which both teams pick one referee. The teams agree to the compromise. The Russians choose Kompalla. However, the referee the Canadians choose surprisingly is sick, so the Canadians go with another referee. Sinden informs the team that the game is on. They also inform Dryden that he will be starting, leaving Dryden visibly shaking as he leaves the table.

Before the game, the Canadian dressing room is silent, and Dryden claims he cannot stop shaking. Sinden tells the team winning is now the only thing that matters, and that by winning the series they will vindicate themselves. The Canadian team is surprised to see Kharlamov is playing despite his severe injury. In the first minutes, the Canadians receive questionable penalties from Kompalla. With the advantage, the Russians score a powerplay goal to give them a 1-0 lead. Shortly after, Parise is given a penalty on what appears to be an obvious dive. The Canadians' emotions quickly boil over, and Parise nearly swings his stick at Kompalla. As a result, Parise is given a game misconduct and a match penalty. A highly tempered Sinden and Ferguson throw a stick and a chair onto the ice in frustration. Esposito later scores to tie the game. However, the Russians build a 5-3 lead before the 2nd intermission. In the dressing room, a determined Esposito claims they will not lose. Esposito goes to Sinden and suggests he make a change to his line. Sinden has Peter Mahovlich take his brother's place on the line.

The Canadians quickly score in the 3rd period to make it 5-4. Later in the game, Yvan Cournoyer scores to tie the game. Eagleson notices something from the stands and storms to the timekeeper's box. Eagleson is subdued by the Russian guards and appears to be being arrested. Team Canada, led by Pete Mahovlich, storm the area and rescue Eagleson from the guards. As he's being walked backed to the Canadian bench, an angered Eagleson shoves his fist to the crowd. At the Canadians' bench, Eagleson tells Sinden that he noticed the goal light didn't go on and went to the timekeeper's box to make sure the Russians didn't cheat them out of a goal. Late during the game, Gresko comes to the Canadian bench and informs Eagleson that if the game ends in a tie, the Russians will win the series based on goal differential (the Russians had two more goals than the Canadians). Esposito overhears the conversation, and becomes more determined to win the game, even refusing to get off the ice despite being fatigued. In the last minute of the game, Henderson calls Pete Mahovlich off the ice and skates to the net. Though he doesn't score, Esposito shoots the puck at Tretiak. Henderson picks up the rebound and scores to give the Canadians a 6-5 lead with 34 seconds left in the game. The Canadians clear the bench and crowd Henderson in celebration. Team Canada holds the lead and wins the game, thus winning the series. As the game ends, one of the Canadian players picks up the game-winning puck (the camera does not show the player's face or number, therefore leaving the player's identity unknown.)

As the Canadians proudly celebrate in the dressing room, Alexander Yakushev gifts the team with a samovar from the Russians. Esposito accepts the samovar, and gives Yakushev a hockey stick and a beer in return on behalf of the team. As the team continues celebrating, Sinden and Ferguson quietly sit in their room. Ferguson asks Sinden if he wants to join them. Sinden says he needs a few minutes to "take this all in". A handshake between the two follows, as they continue to sit silently in their room (In the extended version, Sinden leaves and Ferguson breaks down in tears).

The miniseries ends with several players of the team going onto the ice one more time. The team stand and sit on the ice in silence, absorbing the series and their experience as a whole. (This concluding moment was the one scene in the mini-series that liberally interpreted the truth and perhaps was the most dramatized. The players did not go back on the ice, but this coda was based on an interview with defenseman Gary Bergman, who said that he stopped before leaving the ice for the final time and took in the "old barn" (Luzhniki Ice Palace).[2]


Actor Role
Booth Savage Harry Sinden
Judah Katz Alan Eagleson
Mark Owen John Ferguson
Sonia Laplante Gabrielle Fournier (a fictional character)
David Berni Phil Esposito
Gabriel Hogan Ken Dryden
Mike Dopud Vic Hadfield
Tyson Waye Red Berenson
Sebastien Roberts Rod Gilbert
Louis-Philippe Dandenault Yvan Cournoyer
Jeff Roop Frank Mahovlich
Hugh Thompson Gary Bergman
David Alexander Miller Paul Henderson
Gerry Dee Wayne Cashman
Chris Szarka Peter Mahovlich
John Bregar Bobby Clarke
Marc Savard Serge Savard
Jason Thibodeau Jean-Paul Parise
Rob Brydges Bill Goldsworthy
Yuriy Sobeshchakov Vsevolod Bobrov
Daniel Matmor Alexander Gresko
Leo Vernik Vladislav Tretiak
Joel Cousins Valeri Kharlamov
Gary Levert Joe Kryczka
Walter Learning Charlie Hay
Eugene Lipinski Anatoly Tarasov

Awards and nominationsEdit

Award Category Recipients and nominees Result
Gemini Awards[3] Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series Judah Katz Won
Best Picture Editing in a Dramatic Program or Series Dean Soltys Won
Best Achievement in Casting Marjorie Lecker
Donna Rae Gibbs
Sheila Lane
Best Direction in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series T. W. Peacocke Nominated
Directors Guild of Canada[4] Outstanding Picture Editing - Television Movie/Mini-Series Dean Soltys Won
Outstanding Television Movie/Mini-Series Canada Russia '72 Nominated


There is no official soundtrack or musical score for the miniseries. This is a list of all the songs that are featured in the miniseries. All of the songs featured are songs released during the early 1970s from Canadian musicians to fit the setting of music during the 1972 Summit Series. Most of these songs are featured more than once throughout the miniseries.

In order of appearance:


  1. ^ "Canada Russia '72". April 9, 2006. Retrieved 2006-04-09.
  2. ^ Interview on the DVD set: Canada's Team of the Century - 1972 Canada vs USSR, the complete 8 game series uncut
  3. ^ "Gemini Awards (2006)". IMDb. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
  4. ^ "Directors Guild of Canada (2006)". IMDb. Retrieved 2013-03-07.

External linksEdit