Hockey Notes - World Cup, News, Bantam AE, Travel, 2016-2017 (Windsor Minor Hockey Association)

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Hockey Notes - World Cup
Submitted By mborek on Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Well, the World Cup of Hockey is set to begin this coming Saturday September 17th.  I'm intrigued by the setup, and really think 3 teams stand out.  Team North America looks like a very fast, agile group of young players and may surprise a few teams if they are not taken seriously, especially in goal.  Team USA is a powerhouse with very good goaltending and a solid defense.  Finally, Team Canada is just a manster.  There's a lot of international, as well as NHL experience on this team.  Let's face it.  The only team that will beat them is themselves.

Anyhoo, I bring this up because it coincides with the 45th anniversary of the first great international hockey series between a professional Canadian hockey team and the USSR (Russia).  I remember watching this series at home and in elementary school - classes were canceled, televisions (colour, not black and white) were rolled into classrooms, and we watched in awe.  Okay, so I'm old . . . ish.  But, this just goes to show how new and enthralling this series was for everyone; especially young whipper snappers like me.

I bring this up now not only as a commemorative moment, but also in light of the 2 games against Lasalle this past weekend.  Back in 1972, prior to the start of the series, it was accepted by many that Team Canada should have a relatively easy time against the Soviet (Russian) team.  Well, not only was the team horribly shocked, but the country was as well.  YouTube has these games available for viewing to let you get a sense of the calibre of hockey being played back then.

The first four games were played in Canada, with the last four played in the USSR.  Playing overseas, Team Canada faced very hostile crowds, intimidation by the Red Army stationed in the arena, incredibly biased and inconsistent officiating, and an incredible hole to dig themselves out of if they even hoped to tie the series.

Well, long story short, Team Canada players brought themselves back down to reality and started to work as hard as any team could have.  They started out rusty and unprepared against a team that was very much ready for the Canadians.  However, the Canadian team became a true team based on commitment prior to the four games in Moscow (there was a 2 week break between games), and they won 3 of the 4 games there, the last one in dramatic fashion (Leafs fans clap now).  Aside - Should Paul Henderson be in the Hall of Fame?  Discuss amongst yourselves.

So, getting back to the events of this past weekend, I'd like all of you young whipper snappers to take a lesson or two from Team Canada 1972.  Two games do not make a season.  Heck, they barely make a weekend.  There is plenty of hockey left this year, between regular season, playdown/playoff games, tournaments, and practices.  Team Canada only won one game and tied one game out of the first five against the USSR.

Even professional hockey players, many future Hall of Famers, had to learn to adapt to a different style of play.  Many adjusted their game, but most simply worked as hard as they could and didn't take the opponent for granted.  It's not good to overestimate your opponent, but it could be very humiliating to underestimate them.  However, most important is commitment.  "There's a difference between interest and commitment.  When you're interested in something, you do it only when it's convenient.  When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results."

For a great article outlining the 1972 series, follow this link on the OMHA website:

Thanks for reading.

Good luck and ENJOY!
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