I was born in 1979, so I wasn't even alive when this series was played. Growing up, I knew of the series and its players, but understood little of how it played out, and what it meant. All I knew was "the goal". So I bought this set, wanting to see it mostly out of curiousity. I had a bunch of people over to watch Game 1, all of us never having seen it. Despite the poor audio and picture quality and terrible (hilarious) graphics, it didn't take long for us to get into the game as though it were happening right then and there. My dad could only shake his head.
We found ourselves immersed not only in the drama on the ice, but research revealed all of the drama off of it.
Suddenly, there we were; a group of Canadians removed from our time, transported back to September of 1972. Communism is alive in the USSR, Trudeau is Prime Minister, and practically no Canadians wear helmets. On the day following the games we would be at work, saying things like: "Can you believe that goal by Pete Mahovlich last night?" and, "Man, Tretiak is INCREDIBLE!" or, "Bergman is all OVER the place!" People thought we were nuts.
As the games went on, and things were looking grim, the remembrance of the outcome began to creep back into our consciousness, and I wondered how we were ever going to come back...
And then "the interview" after Game Four.
When I read about the aftermath - the letters and telegrams of support sent to the players in Moscow; the THREE THOUSAND Canadians who made the trip to cheer the team - it really began to dawn on me - the true magnitude of this event not only in Canadian hockey, but in Canadian history, period. The thought of thousands of Canadians flying half way around the world to watch a hockey game, the schools and businesses that essentially shut down to watch the games... unbelievable.
The eighth and deciding game was watched in a theatre-style classroom, on a big screen. There was excitement and anticipation in the air. Then, after fifty-nine minutes and twenty-four seconds of some of the hardest fought hockey I had ever seen, we heard the call we all were waiting for - the call from Foster Hewitt that all Canadians have heard...
"Here's a shot... Henderson makes a wild stab for it, and falls... here's another shot... right in front... THEY SCORE! HENDERSON HAS SCORED FOR CANADA!"
Now, I am not one for blind patriotism, but in the end, those players and those fans made me as proud to be Canadian as I ever have been in my entire life (how bizarre!).
This series is an absolute must for all Canadians, hockey fans or not. To have the opportunity to see those players - the Espositos, the Mahovlichs, Clarke, Cournoyer, Bergman, Dryden, and Henderson, and so on - required viewing for all hockey fans too young to have seen them.
Before I saw it for myself, I thought it was just a hockey series. Boy, was I wrong.