Paul Henderson, Ken Dryden, Yvon Cournoyer and many of the players from Team Canada who defeated the Soviets in the 1972 Summit Series were in attendance to be honoured by the House of Commons on Thursday.
After question period, serenaded by members of Parliament singing “O Canada” and with a standing ovation, the players were welcomed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series, during which Canada squeezed out a nerve-racking 6-5 win in Game 8 on a goal by Paul Henderson with 34 seconds left. Canada, which was heavily favoured entering the Cold War exhibition against the underestimated Soviets, won the series 4-3-1.
Members of each of the official parties, plus the Green Party, praised the efforts of the players and the significance to Canadians of their victory.
‘’It was an honour to welcome Team Canada’s 1972 Summit Series members to Parliament today,” Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge said in a statement.
“They unified us as a country, and we remember them as a team of courageous and resilient players. In the face of adversity, they never backed down and made us proud Canadians. It was a great privilege to meet them.’’
Among those also in attendance from the Summit Series team were Ron Ellis, Serge Savard, Dennis Hull, Frank Mahovolich, Peter Mahovolich, Rod Seiling and Don Awry, as well as the sons of Vic Hadfield and Bill White.
The Summit Series was conjured by the government of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to find common ground with the Soviet Union and ease tensions between the East and West. Spearheaded by player agent Alan Eagleson, the first four games were held in Canada (Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver), with the remaining four games held in Moscow.