1972 Summit Series recognized

IIHF honours teams that changed hockey; fans can name new award

Москва  Россия

IIHF Interpreter and moderator Viktor Gusev interviews 1972 foes Phil Esposito and Boris Mikhailov. Photo: Alexei Kudenko / RIA Novosti

ZURICH – The IIHF Council has decided to introduce an IIHF Milestone Award, to be granted periodically “to a team or teams that have made a significant contribution to international ice hockey or had a defining impact on the development of the game”. The Council decided that the first such honour will go to the teams of the 1972 Summit Series.

The name of the award is yet to be determined, but hockey fans will be able to send in their suggestions by either emailing media@iihf.com or sending in ideas to the IIHF’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

The timing of this first award is intended to help mark the 40-year anniversary of the eight-game series between the Soviet Union and Canada which, according to observers and hockey historians, was the genesis of modern ice hockey.

The series was played between September 2 and September 28, 1972, the first four games across Canada (Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver), and the last four at the Luzhniki Ice Palace in Moscow. It wasn’t decided until 34 seconds left to play in the last game in Moscow when Paul Henderson scored the game and series winner for Canada to complete a remarkable three-game rally. Henderson, in fact, scored the winning goal in all three games.

“The IIHF has honoured individuals since 1997 with inductions to the IIHF Hall of Fame, but we felt we were missing an award which recognized great events, great teams, or defining moments which have shaped our game,” said IIHF President René Fasel. “This is why we introduced this new award, and the Council felt it was appropriate that the historic 1972 Summit Series would receive the inaugural honour.”

“Furthermore, we would like to invite hockey fans to assist us by finding the best possible name for the new award as “Milestone Award” is still a working title, and we are not sure whether this is name is optimal,” said Fasel.

The award will be presented as part of the IIHF Hall of Fame induction ceremony on May 20, 2012 in Helsinki, Finland, on the day of the gold-medal game of the 76th IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

The IIHF will later announce details about which representatives from the Russian Ice Hockey Federation and Hockey Canada will attend.

Last weekend, a 40-year anniversary event was held in Moscow (see story) in honour of the Summit Series. Click here for a photo gallery with pictures taken last weekend from some of the Canadian and Russian heroes from 1972.



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