Members of Parliament took a break from politics on Thursday to honor the Team Canada players who participated in the legendary 1972 Peak Series.
MPs made a statement marking the 50th anniversary of a pivotal moment in Canadian sporting history: the eight-game draw played by Canada and the Soviet Union in September 1972.
Canada ended up winning the draw dramatically when Paul Henderson scored in the dying seconds of the final game to propel the team to a record four wins, three losses and a draw.
“Everyone loves a good comeback story, especially one that brings the whole country together,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a speech.
House Speaker Anthony Rota read out the list of players in attendance – including Ken Dryden, Serge Savard and Paul Henderson – to a standing ovation.
“They’re not just heroes because they won the series,” Trudeau said. “They are all heroes because they taught us a lesson. They showed us how perseverance and hard work pays off.”
‘Cold War on ice’
Prior to 1972, NHL players had never played for Team Canada in international competition. Considered heavy favourites, the Canadian side features some of the biggest names in the sport.
The series started badly for Canada, however, as the team trailed the game 7-3 one loss.
Trailing 3-1-1 with three games to go, the team would go unbeaten to close the series with a winning streak — capped by Henderson’s iconic goal, which was scored with 34 seconds remaining in the final game.
“It will be a true test of hockey supremacy, played in the shadow of a far more deadly contest for global supremacy,” said Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre. “By that time, the series had become – to borrow the name of the 40th anniversary documentary – Cold War on ice.”
On a day that Poilievre faced a period of questioning with Trudeau for the first time since winning the Conservative leadership race, the memory of a golden moment in hockey history brought an unusual degree of cross-partisan consensus.
“Hockey – it brings us together,” Henderson, 79, told CBC’s Power and Politics on Thursday.
“In ’72, it was the whole country.”
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