J.P. Parisé, known for Summit Series meltdown, dies at 73
17-year NHL forward nearly struck ref during Canada-Soviet game
Jean-Paul (J.P.) Parisé, a longtime NHL forward known for nearly striking an official while playing for Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, has died at the age of 73.
Parisé was diagnosed with lung cancer a year ago and had been in hospice care.
His son Zach Parisé, a star forward with the Minnesota Wild, informed the team Thursday that his father died Wednesday night at his home near Minneapolis. The younger Parisé missed Tuesday’s game to be with his ailing father.
"We appreciate the outpouring of support we have received from family, friends and the entire hockey community during this difficult time," the Parisé family said in a statement. "J.P. was a great husband, father and grandpa and will be greatly missed by all of us."
A native of Smooth Rock Falls, Ont., J.P. Parisé scored 238 goals during a 17-year NHL career that included two stints with the Minnesota North Stars and time with Boston, Toronto (one game), the New York Islanders and the Cleveland Barons. A dependable two-way player, he was twice named to play in the NHL All-Star Game.
Parisé’s best season came with Minnesota in 1972-73, when he recorded career highs in goals (27), assists (48), points (75) and penalty minutes (96).
But he’s perhaps best known for an incident that occurred just before that season, during the famous 1972 Summit Series between the Soviet national team and a squad of Canadian NHL stars at the height of the Cold War.
In the opening period of the eighth and final game, held in Moscow, Parisé was whistled for interference and became enraged at reviled German referee Josef Kompalla, who’d made a string of questionable penalty calls against Canada. An incensed Parisé stalked the ice, then skated toward Kompalla near the penalty box and cocked his stick back as if to strike the official, but held back at the last second.
Parisé was ejected, but Canada went on to win the game and the series (the teams had tied an earlier game) on Paul Henderson’s famous last-minute goal.
Far from being vilified, Parisé’s actions became symbolic of the intensity, bordering on hatred, at the heart of the greatest international hockey competition ever played.
“Maybe sometimes you don’t understand who you are,” Parisé said in the 1992 documentary Summit on Ice. “Never would I have realized that I would become such an enraged man for two weeks.”