Number 20: Tretiak hits the ice again in Canada

The number and name that became legendary in the 1972 Canada-Soviet hockey series are back on Canadian ice — worn by another Russian goalie in a very different tournament.

Huge minor hockey tournament in Ottawa includes grandson of legendary Soviet goalie

The number and name have been famous since the 1972 Canada-Soviet hockey series: Number 20, Tretiak. Now they're back on the ice in Canada— worn by another Russian goalie in a very different tournament.
Maxim Tretiak, the 10-year-old grandson of the great Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak, plays for the Moscow Silver Sharks against the Kanata Blazers on Tuesday in Ottawa. ((CBC))

Maxim Tretiak, 10,of Russia said he is proud to be sporting them on his jersey at theBell Capital Cup, which began Thursday in Ottawa.

The same number was worn 34 years earlier by his famous grandfather Vladislav Tretiak when the battle between the two national teams became a potent symbol of the Cold War and changed Canadian hockey forever.

  • The Soviet goalie captured worldwide attention in 1972, when he played a starring role in theCanada-Soviet series.
  • The legendary summit, which spannedeight games, ended when Canada's Paul Henderson managed to sneak the winning goal pastTretiak, then 20.
  • Tretiak went on to other major hockey victories with his team, including threeOlympic gold medals and an MVP award for his performance in the 1981 Canada Cup.
  • He now holds aplace in Canada's Hockey Hall of Fame.

Canadians from coast to coast were glued to their television sets as the summit series pitted the country's best professional players against the Soviet Union, the perennial Olympic champion.

Tretiak, who played goal for the Soviets, was considered one of the series' stars —as well asa backbone of the Soviet team for many years and one of the greatest hockey players of all time.

Now, at an event that bills itself as the largest minor hockey tournament in the world, hisgrandson has joined about7,500 players aged nine to 11 on more than 500 teams from eight different countries.

Tretiak, who plays for the Moscow Silver Sharks, said in Russian through a translator that he is excited about facing teams from so many other countries.

The young goalie spent much ofDec. 26 and 27 on the ice trying todeflect goals shot byplayerswithOttawa's Kanata Blazers, including forward Tyler Clayton.

"I think it is kinda cool that they came all the way over from Russia to Canada just to play in one tournament," said Clayton, whose team won the first of two pre-tournament exhibition games.

Blazers coach John Thompson saidthe young players from faraway countries such as China and Finland stay with local families and participate in potlucks and gift exchanges with their Canadian hosts, learning about each other's cultures in the process.

"They are10-year-old kids and they have a common interest in hockey," Thompson said. "So they get down and are playing ministicks and before you know it there is not even a language barrier."

The annual tournament,which used to be calledthe Ottawa International Hockey Festival, continues until Jan. 1.