It’s the hockey series remembered as one of Canada’s greatest sporting moments.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series, when the best Canadian hockey players faced off against the best from the former Soviet Union.
To mark the occasion, Brock’s Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) has organized a public film screening, panel discussion and book signing on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. Held in partnership with the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) and Someday Books, the event will take place at The Film House at the PAC in downtown St. Catharines.
“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, Professor of Sport Management and Director of the Centre for Sport Capacity.
This will be the only Niagara screening of the documentary film Ice-Breaker: The ’72 Summit Series by Robbie Hart. 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.
The film is based in part on the book Ice War Diplomat by Gary Smith, a former Canadian diplomat in Moscow who accompanied the Soviet team to Canada.
Given the current hockey climate and the political situation with Russia, the anniversary gives Canadians an opportunity to reflect on the role of sport in our society and Canadian identity.
“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.
The story of the ’72 Summit Series shows the importance of studying sport from an interdisciplinary perspective and shows how sport intersects with areas including history, culture, politics and business.
“Cross-disciplinary research enhances our understanding of how sport events like the Summit Series continue to shape our society,” says Stevens, who is co-director with Vlossak on the Sport Oral History Archive. “Sport events don’t occur in isolation.”
Event tickets are available through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre box office for $9.50. Smith will be available to sign copies of his book, which may also be purchased at the event.
What: 1972 Summit Series 50th anniversary film screening, panel discussion and book signing
When: Saturday, Nov. 19 at 3 p.m.
Where: The Film House, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines