Whether or not you’ve been watching Summit 72 — the documentary series about Team Canada’s incredible summit series victory over the Soviet Union — don’t miss tonight’s final episode.
The last hour takes you back fifty years to the eighth and final game — the one where Paul Henderson scored with 34 seconds remaining — providing a miracle finish to a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
All the drama of that final game comes back:
SEE: Alan Eagleson lose it when a goal light doesn’t go on.
SEE: Uniformed Soviet militia grab the Eagle by his hump and begin to throw him to Siberia.
SEE: Peter Mahovlich jump over the boards and, armed only with a hockey stick, outmuscle the Red Army and haul Eagleson over to the Canadian bench.
SEE: Eagleson give the Soviet leader watching in the stands the finger.
One of the writer-directors on the series, musician/author Dave Bidini, told me on a recent podcast about the series that the aim of the doc was not to simply follow the puck. That’s true for most of this series, but for the final goal, the action actually slows down and you can re-live all the magic of that moment.
There are some poignant observations at the end, as well, from players who were on the ice, including Serve Savard, Phil Esposito, Yvan Cournoyer, Henderson and even Soviet goalie Vadislav Tretiak. Other Russian and Canadian players talk of how, 50 years later, the Canadian and Soviet skaters retain a friendly and unique band of brothers relationship.
The series has been drawing OK numbers, better than projected results I am told but nothing like the millions of Canadians who watched the series live back in 1972. It may be one of those stories that, well, you had to be there. If you were there, however, do not miss tonight’s final chapter. The puck drops tonight at 8 p.m. on CBC and it can also be streamed at CBC Gem.