This timeline is provided to assist fans with the accuracy of their ’72 stories. We encourage fans to submit Timeline facts through our Contact Form and to include dates and verifiable sources, if available.
1972 Summit Series Timeline
The idea for the Summit series.
In a local Soviet newspaper in the Winter of 1971, Gary Smith, responsible for sports and cultural exchanges with the Soviet Union read that the Soviets were looking for a new challenge in ice hockey. Soviet hockey boss Andrei Starovoytov. divulged that they were ready to play in a series between its national team and Canadian professionals. After the meeting, Canadian ambassador Robert Ford passed the matter to Ottawa to negotiate a series and Hockey Canada was given the task of nailing down the terms for a summit series.
1972, April 18th
Negotiation for the series.
The negotiations for the series were finalized at the Hotel International Prague. This deal was signed on April 18th 1972 during the 1972 World Ice Hockey Championships. Joe Kryczka, president of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA), Andrei Starovoytov, general secretary of the Soviet Union Ice Hockey Federation, Bunny Ahearn, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and Fred Page, vice-president of the IIHF had signed the deal. Both sides had agreed that 4 games would be held in Canada, one in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver. The remaining 4 games of this 8-game series would be held in the Soviet Union in Moscow. Game one would be held on September 2nd 1972.
1972, July 12th
Building Team Canada
Along with coaching, Harry Sinden was given the task of selecting team Canada which would be the first team composed of NHL all-stars. Sinden announced the list of the 35 Canadian players on July 12th that would complete the team. Prior to training camp there were several changes to the roster. One notable change was that Bobby Hull was replaced by Rick Martin because Hull had signed a contract with the WHA and was therefore ineligible to play in the Series. Dennis Hull was considering turning down his invitation, however brother Bobby convinced him to play. Bobby Orr was selected to join the team even though he had an injury. Although he practiced with the team he did not participate in the series. With all the changes to team Canada complete they assembled in Toronto, and started training camp on August 13th. Sinden named 4 co-captains for Team Canada, Phil Esposito, Stan Mikita, Frank Mahovlich and Jean Ratelle.
1972, September 2nd
Game 1 - Montreal
Phil Esposito scored 30 seconds into the game to put Canada up 1-0. Paul Henderson then scored 5 minutes later. Team Canada looked like they would run away with the first period, however the Soviets soon tied the game. The Soviets took their first lead of the game in the second period. Bobby Clarke was the only Canadian to score in the final period, however the Soviets won 7-3 and Canada was stunned.
1972, September 4th
Game 2 - Toronto
Harry Sinden and assistant John Ferguson revamped the Team Canada lineup. Seven players were brought in to create a tougher, more defensive lineup. Canada won 4-1 over the Soviets. Canadians were ecstatic after the win.
1972, September 6th
Game 3 - Winnipeg
Team Canada lead 4-2 in the second period but had to settle for a 4-4 tie. Fans across the country were disappointed with Team Canada's performance.
1972, September 8th
Game 4 - Vancouver
Fans in Vancouver booed team Canada through a 5-3 loss. Team Canada would head to Moscow down 2-1-1. Phil Esposito was very disappointed and emotional in his post game interview and told Canadians that the team would get better.
1972, September 13th
Practice and Exhibition Games - Stockholm Sweden
Team Canada flew to Stockholm and played two exhibition games against Sweden's national team. Vic Hadfield, Jocelyn Guevremont and Richard Martin had all left the team due to a shortage of ice-time in the first four games.
1972, September 22nd
Game 5 - Moscow
Phil Esposito would slip and fall on a flower petal during the team introductions, and then he took a bow. The line of Bobby Clarke, Paul Henderson and Ron Ellis gave Canada an early lead. This line had been put together in training camp and stayed together throughout the series. Clarke had a goal and two assists and Henderson, despite being knocked unconscious during the game, scored twice. Team Canada fell short as the Soviets scored four quick goals, erasing a three goal deficit, winning the game 5-4. Team Canada now trailed 3-1-1 in the series with three games remaining.
1972, September 24th
Game 6 - Moscow
USSR superstar Valeri Kharlamov was slashed by Bobby Clarke during game 6. Team Canada would hold a 3-1 lead early in the 2nd period and held on for a 3-2 victory. Paul Henderson would score the winning goal.
1972, September 26th
Game 7 - Moscow
Game 7 saw USSR’s Mikhailov kick Canada’s Gary Bergman. At 17:54 of the third period, Paul Henderson scored his second game winning goal to tie the Series 3-3 with one tie.
1972, September 28th
Game 8 – Moscow
Jean-Paul Parisé, incensed by the referees, raised his stick as if it were a baseball bat. The third period started with the USSR holding a two-goal lead. Phil Esposito scored a crucial goal at 2:27 and assisted on Yvan Cournoyer’s goal at 12:56 which tied the game. The Soviets held a goal differential advantage throughout the series, giving them the potential to claim victory if the series ended in a tie, but with time winding down, Paul Henderson jumped over the boards and sped down the ice, where he tripped and fell behind the USSR’s net. Henderson never gave up on the play, got back up to receive a puck directed at the net by Esposito and scored his third game winning goal with only 34 seconds remaining.
Cournoyer has it on that wing. Here's a shot. Henderson made a wild stab for it and fell. Here's another shot. Right in front, they score! Henderson has scored for Canada!
— Foster Hewitt, calling the play-by-play description of Henderson's goal
The game ended 6-5 and the series ended 4-3-1 in Canada’s favour. 10,000 fans greeted Team Canada at Montreal’s Airport and 80,000 fans attended at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square.