They Travelled To Moscow
The following article was written by Chris Thomas of the Simcoe Times-Reformer on Sept. 30, 1997. Mr. Thomas profiled some Simcoe, Ontario area residents who travelled to Moscow to cheer on Team Canada in 1972.
Canadian Fans Land At Moscow Airport - CBC (1:26)
Locals travelled to Moscow to
help rally Team Canada
"I yelled so long and hard I thought my head would shatter into tiny little fragments," was Hadley Jackson's reaction to the biggest goal in Canadian hockey history.
Jackson, and a handful of other Simcoe residents were among the 3000 Canadians in Moscow's Luzhniki Sports Palace on Sept. 28, 1972 when Paul Henderson scored the dramatic winning goal in the first-ever Canada-Russian hockey series.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the historic game, the Times-Reformer invited Jackson, Chuck Brimmer, Dave McArthur and Frank Reid to relate what it was like to be part of the most exciting event in Canadian sports history.
With the best players in the National Hockey League finding themselves the unexpected underdog after four games in Canada, the four decided to travel to Moscow on the spur of the moment to support the team and the country's national pride in hockey.
After losing the first game in Moscow, Brimmer confessed he was not confident Canada could win the series.
"It was pretty ominous," agreed Jackson. "We were still behind the team, but I didn't think we could come back."
But then the tide turned, primarily on emotion generated by both the fans and the players.
"They couldn't take our game away from us," said McArthur. "It was a matter of pride."
From the time they arrived in Moscow, the Canadian contingent made themselves known. At the games, they waved flags and banners and cheered wildly, Jackson said he initiated the chant "Da da Canada, nyet, nyet Soviet" which became a rally cry of the Canadian crowd.
McArthur chuckled when he recalled that Brimmer was "on a mission" to get on the television broadcast back o Canada and sure enough, he was interviewed between the second and third periods of the final game.
"I jumped over the boards, but it was a drop of about 15 feet to where the fans were being interviewed," Brimmer said. "I hit the floor and rolled to the feet of the camera man."
When asked about the Russian reaction to the winning goal, Brimmer said that their fans quietly filed out of the arena.'
"To be honest, we were so emotional I didn't really notice them," he said.
Fans Comments Upon Return To Canada - CBC Radio (3:41)
After the game, the locals went to Team Canada's hotel to join in a wild celebration. They had a table directly next to the room where the players were gathering.
"As the players came through our room, we all stood up and gave them a standing ovation," Jackson said. "Every player then got up on a chair and thanked the fans for being there."
"The players said it was we 3000 Canadians who kept their spirits up over there," added Brimmer.
Special thanks to Joseph Nieforth.