Oh, Canada!

In September of 1972, we were a young married couple with a one year-old infant girl. My wife and I were house and dog sitting in a home in Scarborough for friends who were traveling, a break from the confines of our own cramped apartment. Being in the east end of Toronto, we paid our first visit to the Science Centre. Here, talking into the parabolic sound reflector, we inadvertently made the acquaintance of Michael, a young Australian traveler. We invited Michael to be our guest for a few days. It was during Michael’s stay that the eighth game of the Canada/Russia series occurred. My wife had lived and breathed hockey throughout her life because of her dad’s sports-writing position with the Toronto Star (Red Burnett); so, this series which pitted Canadian hockey stars against the cream of Russia’s hockey players during a period when international politics were all about the Cold War had real poignancy for us. By the middle of the series when Phil Esposito so publicly outlined some of the Russian tactics being used to impede Canada’s chances at winning, the Canadian team was clearly cast in the under-dog role. This mix of factors infused the whole series with high emotion. When Paul Henderson fired the winning goal past Tretiak, Canada’s hockey prowess was confirmed. “Our side” held up its end in the Cold War. Fair play prevailed over dirty tricks. And we had the pleasure of playing the vicarious conquering heroes with our newly inducted hockey fan from Australia.

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