Rare screening of 1972 Summit Series documentary comes to St. Catharines


Published November 18, 2022 at 3:50 pm

Even 50 years later, the 1972 Summit Series between Canada's and Russia's best hockey players remains a cultural touchstone for so many Canadians.

You certainly have to be of a certain age to have witnessed the 1972 Summit Series when the best Canadian hockey players faced off against the best from the former Soviet Union.

Suffice it to say, if you’re of university age now, maybe – just maybe – your parents watched it as it was happening.

That said, regardless of age, because of the significance of the hockey series, it is remembered as one of Canada’s greatest sporting moments.

With 2022 being the 50th anniversary of the eight-game series, the Brock’s Centre for Sport Capacity has organized the only Niagara screening of the series documentary, “Ice-Breaker: The ’72 Summit Series” by Robbie Hart with the film-maker attending.

It will happen November 19 at 3 pm in The Film House at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.

The film broadens the story usually told about the series to include the unique perspectives of diplomats, hockey legends, Soviet athletes, journalists, fans, broadcasters and business leaders.

Also attending will be Gary Smith, a former Canadian diplomat in Moscow who accompanied the Soviet team to Canada, who wrote the book “Ice War Diplomat,” one of the tomes upon which the documentary is based.

“This anniversary is an opportunity for us to reflect on the role hockey has played in Canadian culture and to think about what we want for the future of hockey,” says Julie Stevens, Brock Professor of Sport Management and Director of the Centre for Sport Capacity.

The day will include the documentary screening, a panel discussion and a book signing, all rolled up in one huge hockey-centric event.

“The Summit Series has become an inherited cultural memory of those who were not alive at the time,” says Assistant Professor of Sport Management Taylor McKee, whose research includes sport history and historical memory.

“It has become shorthand for how we remember ourselves,” he says, noting that cultural memory does not always reflect the historical facts.

McKee will be part of a discussion panel following the film, along with Stevens, Hart and Smith. The panel will be moderated by Elizabeth Vlossak, Associate Professor of History and Associate Dean with the Faculty of Humanities.

Tickets are available through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre box office for $9.50 and Smith will be available to sign copies of his book, which may also be purchased at the event.

Gary Smith, who wrote the book “Ice War Diplomat,” will be at the PAC as part of a documentary screening, a panel discussion and a book signing on the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and Russia.

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