CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Canadians and Hockey

History, Social Studies, Physical Education
2 lessons
To understand key elements of a historical event
In this introductory activity, students prepare a timeline describing the events of the 1972 Canada-Soviet hockey series.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Allow students about five minutes to respond to the following questions:


What are Canadians famous for internationally?

What are Canadians good at?

What do Canadians take pride in?

What events do Canadians watch or participate in?


Allow students to volunteer answers and create a list of topics on the board. Elicit the response hockey if not offered by the students.

Explain the intense feelings Canadians had about hockey from the 1950s to the 1970s because there were fewer teams, less visual entertainment available, and fewer sports for the average fan to follow. Explain that in those days there were two types of hockey players: the professionals (NHL) and the amateurs (Olympic and world championships). The amateur sport was dominated by the Soviets, and most Canadians thought the NHL teams were much better than the Soviets. Remind students of the Cold War between the Soviet states and the democratic nations and the fierce competitive stand each side took about which system was better.

Outline the Opportunity

Direct students to the topic Canada-Soviet Hockey Series, 1972 on the CBC Digital Archives website. In pairs, have students explore the site.  Students will create a timeline of events with a description of each event. Descriptions might be written in the style of a newspaper article, or recorded as audio or video news clips.

Revisit and Reflect

Post the visual presentations around the class and allow students time to review them and to listen to or watch the audio and video presentations. Ask: How did the series affect the way Canadians were viewed in the world? How did the series affect the way Canadians felt about themselves? Through discussion generate a class summary statement about the series and its effect on Canada in general.


Students can research and create a comparable timeline based on a recent major hockey series of their choice.

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