It seems strange now, but when Team Canada took on the Soviet Union in Game Four of the Summit Series, Vancouver was still new to the NHL. The Canucks had been part of the NHL family for only two seasons and their only Team Canada rep was Dale Tallon who never played a shift during the eight games. He wasn't alone in that, Marcel Dionne, Brian Glennie and Ed Johnston all sat out those games.
Game Three had been a disappointing 4-4 tie in Winnipeg. Canada twice held two goal leads, 3-1 and 4-2, but couldn't hold on. They outshot the Soviets by a 38-25 margin, but once again Vladislav Tretiak was spectacular in goal.
While Canadian fans had run the gamut of moods, the fourth game in Vancouver added a whole new element. Canadian fans had been smug before Game One, terrified before Game Two and hopeful before Game Three.
Goldsworth was a target
As we would see on a few occasions' decades later, Vancouver fans can be downright ugly.
It started with Team Canada being booed during the pre-game warm-up and accelerated with two early penalties against Bill Goldsworthy that resulted in two Soviet power play goals. Much like Roberto Luongo has felt the wrath of Vancouver fans, Goldsworthy received it full throttle that evening. His Team Canada and Minnesota North Star teammate J.P. Parise feels that Goldsworthy never got over the abuse he took that night from the vicious and hostile Vancouver fans.
It was not a vintage sports week for Canadian hockey and all round sports fans. The tragic Summer Olympics in Munich ended two days later and Canada came home without a gold medal, though they won two silver and three bronze. Coupled with the struggles of what we all thought was the best hockey team in the world, things reached a boiling point that night in Vancouver.
It ended up being a miserable night for Team Canada and their fans. The type of night you want to erase from our collective memory.
Yet when the game ended there was a classic moment that has lived on as an iconic Canadian moment. It featured Phil Esposito and the interviewer, Johnny Esaw.
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