Canadian Fan Tells Summit Series Insider Stories From Moscow

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Wayne Hussey of North Vancouver traveled to Moscow 50 years ago to witness history, alongside a few thousand other lucky Canadians. 🏒

For Canadians of a certain age, watching television footage broadcast by satellite from the Soviet Union of Paul Henderson scoring the epic goal that won the 1972 Summit Series is a defining moment.

“Henderson scored for Canada!” belted out the great Foster Hewitt at a time that helped shape a nation’s collective identity.

But for a man from North Vancouver, the memories are even more vivid. Wayne Hussey was one of several thousand Canadians who traveled to Moscow to watch the games live. He had received four tickets as part of a commercial agreement and had traveled with his wife Jacqueline and two good friends. Hussey is now over 90, but those memories of 50 years ago are still vividly vivid.

“Right now, thinking about it, I get chills down my spine,” he told the North Shore News.

The party begins on the flight across the Atlantic

Many Canadian hockey fans know the highs and lows of this epic hockey series, but it’s fascinating to hear about the event from a hockey fan who had a truly unique vision. Hussey’s memories begin during the plane ride.

“We dropped into Montreal, the jet did, to refuel and/or otherwise, and lo and behold we heard a bunch of people singing,” he said. “The French were getting on the plane. And before they went up they came 12 dozen old fashioned beers.

It was a transatlantic flight for the record books.

“They sang all the way to Russia,” Hussey said. “They were the happiest, drunkest band I’ve ever seen in my life in public.”

When they arrived in the Soviet Union, it became apparent that the rules were different.

“Here we were in Moscow at the height of the Cold War,” Hussey said. “The first thing they did when we got off the plane in Moscow was they took your passport. Then you feel completely devoid of any security or anything a passport means. And we were there in this big big country – it was not a very pleasant feeling, but it was the rule.

Speak the common language of hockey

It was clear, however, that hockey was a shared passion for Canadians and Russians.

“The taxi driver was Russian, of course,” Hussey said of his first interaction with a local resident. “I don’t know if the guy understood us or not. But then, for some reason, we had to bring up the word “Esposito.” So all of a sudden the guy turns his head, even when he’s driving, then looks at us with a big smile, and he says ‘Esposito!’ He knew Esposito, knew everything about him.

There were museum tours, late-night drinks and some sweet shenanigans — Hussey said he and his pal managed to sneak into a heated meeting between Canadian and Soviet hockey officials over referees — but some of the more mundane aspects of life in the Soviet Union. are the most memorable for Hussey. The jet lag kept waking him up early in the morning and telling him something about Russian life he had heard about but never imagined seeing.

“Russian women, at four o’clock in the morning, were sweeping the streets with willow brooms. It was something to see. … We had read about it in books, but actually seeing it in progress was very different.

Soviet players changed the game

As for hockey, Hussey remembers being amazed by what he saw of Soviet players.

“When they started on their side and/or their defense, the passing of the puck was incredible,” he said. “They were going more or less side by side, they weren’t going straight. They were sort of circling and going up the ice at the same time. It was like a new style of watching hockey, so it was very surprising.

But at the end of the day, of course, the decisive moment was a goal for Canada.

“When we won, it was the biggest nationalistic thing I’ve ever felt, seen or heard,” Hussey said. “To be there to see this happen was great. And believe me, nothing has compared to it since.

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