Saturday, July 7, 2012

Team Canada '72; Roster and Sweater Unveiled

On July 11, 1972 Hockey Canada held a press conference in Montreal releasing the initial roster for the Summit Series. In addition, the proposed Team Canada jersey was unveiled and as seen in the picture, it varies from the version that would eventually be used. I really wish I could find a front view of the jersey pictured, from what is seen the NHL logo and the word "Hockey" are removed in the final version.

As far as the roster, Harry Sinden stated to the media this day that Ken Dryden would be his starting goaltender in the opener that was just under two months away. Bobby Hull was selected for the squad but Sinden knew full well that he would be declared ineligible on August 13. That was the day that a player had to have been signed to an NHL contract (not WHA) in order to play in the series. Other players on the initial roster that had yet to sign included J.C. Tremblay, Gerry Cheevers, Derek Sanderson, Brad Park and Rod Gilbert. Of course, the first three players would join Hull in the WHA. The Montreal Gazette's Ted Blackman states in the article that "Gilbert is more part of Cleveland today than he is the Rangers" and that "Park could also jump" (to the WHA). Thankfully, those two remained in the NHL and part of Team Canada.

The difference in technology between today and forty years ago is evident in the fact that at the time of the press conference, Gilbert Perreault had still not been informed he was on Team Canada, and Bobby Hull had not yet been notified that he was NOT allowed to play. Blackman says of Hull, "He'll start bleeding when he reads it in today's papers."

 Two players that Harry Sinden also wanted as part of his team were  Rangers forward Walt Tkaczuk and Boston defender Dallas Smith. The Gazette reports,"Tkaczuk, a natural, was invited but declined because of involvement in a new hockey school in which much of his own money is invested. Dallas Smith owns a 700-acre farm that needs attention during September and couldn't be expected to hire the $100 per acre outside help without compensation."

The Gazette article goes on to say, "There was only one 'political' appointment to the squad-that of Guevremont for the Vancouver audience." The 35 man roster to report to Maple Leaf Gardens in mid-August was to be joined by the top four picks in the June amateur draft-Bill Harris, Jacques Richard, Steve Shutt and Don Lever in order to have two full scrimmage squads. Coach Sinden refused to discuss those he left off the roster (Hodge, Keon, Lemaire, Bucyk) saying, "I could put these 35 players aside and pick another team of 35 that would please some people. Anyone can pick a team, but only one man can pick one and get on with it."

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