Thursday, June 7, 2012

1972 Summit Series, 27 Days in September... and November?

Forty years ago today on June 7, 1972 the Canadian Press reported on a proposed postponement of the upcoming Summit Series between Canada and Russia. Apparently, NHL President Clarence Campbell had taken issue with Hockey Canada's original timetable of having the Canadian portion of games played in early September. The NHL's desire was to keep the Russian games as scheduled for September 22, 24, 26 & 28 while bumping the games in Canada to November 7, 9, 13 & 17.

The NHL's proposal would also make it certain that none of the Canadian pros would miss a game with their club team. By mid June however, Campbell was admitting, "Nobody wants the Sept. 1-8 dates which have been proposed, but if it proves impossible to change the dates, we may have to accept them." Of course, in the end the NHL had to give in to the predetermined dates and their fears were realized. With only a few weeks of training camp, Canada was able to win only once on home ice against a Russian team that trains almost year round. Perhaps the series would not have been as close as it was if Clarence Campbell had his way and the Canadian players had been given an extra two months of prep time.

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