CBC Digital Archives

Canada-Soviet series: Trudeau's telegram

People took the day off work on Sept. 28, 1972 to watch Canada play the Soviet Union. In the game's last seconds, their hero Paul Henderson scored an epoch-making goal. But the hockey series was more than just that final game. The fast and skilled Soviets surprisingly showed up Team Canada in eight gruelling games that changed Canadian hockey forever. It became faster, better. And the drama began in game one when Team Canada skated onto the ice self-admiring and mighty, only to be knocked down hard, 7-3, by the Soviet Union.

After Canada's victorious hockey game against the Soviets, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau drafts a congratulatory telegram for Team Canada in Moscow. He says the win is especially remarkable because the players were able to pull up from behind. For the past couple of hours, all regular activity was put on hold as Canada watched game 8 on television sets at home and in bars across the country.

Trudeau says, "I think even the election campaign, as far as I know, has ground to a standstill and Canadians will no doubt feel very elated about it."
• Before the games began, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau tried desperately to stop the National Hockey League from barring hockey star Bobby Hull from the Canada-Soviet hockey series. The NHL prevented Hull from playing because he left the Chicago Black Hawks for a contract with the World Hockey Association.
• Before leaving the Soviet Union, Team Canada played one last exhibition game against Czechoslovakia. They tied 3-3.

• The Soviet display of superior physical ability during the series led to an overhaul of NHL training practices and changed the way Canadians play hockey.
Medium: Radio
Program: Sunday Magazine
Broadcast Date: Oct. 1, 1972
Guest(s): Pierre Trudeau
Host: Bruce Rogers
Duration: 1:25

Last updated: January 20, 2012

Page consulted on February 14, 2014

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

John Diefenbaker: extra clips

His eyes blazing and his finger stabbing the air, John George Diefenbaker set 1950s Canada ali...

John Diefenbaker: Dief the Chief

His eyes blazing and his finger stabbing the air, John George Diefenbaker set 1950s Canada ali...

Leaders' Debates 1968-2011: Highlights

After months of anticipation and weeks of campaigning, it all comes down to one night. Televis...