Canada is Ready to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of its “Greatest Men’s Hockey Team”

For hockey fanatics (and fans of greatness in sports for that matter) there’s nothing better than watching a winning team (even if it’s not yours) hoist the Stanley Cup. While next generation of hockey superstars, including those from the Stanley Cup winning Colorado Avalanche, get ready to etch their names onto the cup in immortality, there’s another team who demands as much attention and if not more so than this year’s Stanley Cup winners:  the 1972 Team Canada Men’s Hockey Team.

Eight years before the famed “Miracle on Ice” which saw the United States win the Olympics gold medal, Canada faced off against the Soviet Union in an eight-game series called ‘The Summit Series’. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of this epic series, John Yorke, CEO & co founder of the advertising agency Rain43 and Jean-Jean Pelletier, serial entrepreneur & co-founder of Grapestars – a leading celebrity destination for wines and spirits, have brought together the legendary 1972 Team Canada players along with iconic Canadian celebrities and brands to honor the players legacy of what many consider to be the greatest triumph in Canadian sports history.

Summit Series

The Summit Series

Held in 1972, the ‘Summit Series’ pitted Canadian NHL players vs. top players in the Soviet Union. With both sides containing its fair share of professional standouts (and future Hall of Fame legends of the sport), this series provided more drama and intrigue than the 1972 Olympic Games, which were held that same year. Another factor that made the Summit Series so legendary was that it was played at the height of the Cold War and intense feelings of nationalism were a backdrop to the war taking place on the ice — which of these powerhouses were truly the most dominant country when it comes to hockey.

Team Canada 1972

With a ‘best-of-eight’ games format, which was contested on both countries soil, remarkably and fittingly after seven of these hard fought matchups, the Summit Series was deadlocked at 3-3-1, with each team winning three times and one game ending in a tie.

Team Canada 1972

Game eight, played in the Soviet Union, saw team Canada down 5-3 entering the third period. Canada stormed back to tie the game at 5-5. With a raucous crowd and lots of drama in and out of the rink — police were called in numerous times to buffer fans and players — and millions glued to their television sets, the game literally came down to the last 34 seconds, when Paul Henderson slammed home a rebound to give Team Canada the lead and ultimately the Summit Series victory.

team Canada

Known as “the goal heard around the world” the image of team Canada celebrating the go-ahead goal became one of Canada’s most famous photographs, adored by generations of Canadian hockey fans and non-fans alike.

Goal of the Century

At the time, most Canadian hockey fans were supporters of specific teams, such as the Montreal Canadians or Toronto Maple Leafs, but this was truly a Canada-wide celebration. As told through the words of legendary Canadian play-by-play announcer Forest Hewitt: “[Paul] Henderson scores for Canada”, Foster Hewitt shouted. “For Canada”.

Esposito

This triumph helped cement the 1972 Summit Series victory as one of the most iconic moments in Canadian sports history (or some may argue of all Canadian history for that matter). In fact the win was so impactful that in the year 2000, the Team Canada of 1972 was voted as ‘Team of the Century’ by Canadians far and wide.

Phil Esposito

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Team Canada’s Triumph

While Crosby, Gretzky and Lemieux may be names that roll off the tongue as hockey legends in recent years, to a previous generation it was the names Dryden, Esposito, Savard, Henderson, Clarke, Park, Cournoyer, Mahovlich, Lapointe that were instantly identifiable as legends of the sport and synonymous with Team Canada’s success in 1972. In total, fourteen players from the 1972 Canadian Team are currently enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame, a remarkable feat.

Team Canada 1972

Multiple books will celebrate this historic occasion, including one by 1972 Team Canada goalie and NHL Legend himself; Ken Dryden, as well as offerings from John Bacon, Scott Morrison and Gary Smith. Collectable and other memorabilia are sure to make the rounds as well to celebrate this historic 50th anniversary.

NHL former alumni Ron Duguay, Guy Carbonneau, Tiger Williams and Butch Goring sharing some stories about what Team Canada’s victory meant to them.  Many other prominent athletes, past and present, will also use their social media in order to honor Team Canada 72.

Team Canada 1972

“The Series of the Century was the most important event of my career, even more than the ten (10) Stanley Cups that I won as a player or general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. This competition has spilled far beyond the boundaries of sport. This series forever changed our hockey, both on the playing surface and in terms of player preparation. It allowed hockey to internationalize. This series has simply transcended the sport. I feel infinitely privileged to have participated.” – Serge Savard

The ThankYou72 / Merci72 Campaign

Given the magnitude of the event and the fact that aging is ultimately catching up with this team (with a few of the players having unfortunately passed away in recent years) this represents perhaps the last chance to celebrate and honor their historic achievement. To ensure generations old and new spread the word across Canada, the “largest social media initiative in Canada” commemorating the 50th anniversary will be celebrated with the hashtags #ThankYou72 / #Merci72.

In addition to the large social push to get all Canadians involved and celebrating, a few prominent commemorative projects are currently in the works to help honor and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Summit Series victory.

Multiple books will celebrate this historic occasion, including one by 1972 Team Canada goalie and NHL Legend himself Ken Dryden, as well as offerings from John Bacon, Scott Morrison and Gary Smith  Collectable coins and other memorabilia are sure to make the rounds as well to celebrate this historic 50th anniversary.

Ken Dryden Book

“In September 1972, I was particularly proud to be part of one of the best Canadian hockey teams of all time.  I took great pride when they nominated me the Most Valuable Player during the Summit Series. But my greatest accomplishment is to have represented my country, to have been part of this legendary Canadian team. I am pleased to find that Canadians are celebrating this memorable series.” – Ken Dryden

Canadian Legends

A First-Hand Account From Ken Dryden

SEPTEMBER 2, 1972, MONTREAL FORUM, GAME ONE:  The best against the best for the first time. Canada, the country that had created the game; the Soviet Union, having taken it up only twenty-six years earlier. On the line: more than the players, more than the fans, more than Canadians and Russians knew. So began an entirely improbable, near-month-long series of games that became more and more riveting, until, for the eighth, and final, and deciding game—on a weekday, during work and school hours all across the country—the nation stopped. Of Canada’s 22 million people, 16 million watched. Three thousand more were there, in Moscow, behind the Iron Curtain, singing—Da da, Ka-na-da, nyet, nyet, So-vi-yet!

It is a story long told, often told. But never like this. Ken Dryden, a goalie in the series, a lifetime observer, later a writer, tells the story in “you are there” style, as if he is living it for the first time. As if you, the reader, are too. The series, as it turned out, is the most important moment in hockey history, changing the game, on the ice and off, everywhere in the world. As it turned out, it is one of the most significant events in all of Canada’s history. Through Ken Dryden’s words, we understand why.

Ken Dryden
Team Canada Goalie and NHL Legend Ken Dryden

Noteworthy Brands Contributing to the Canada-Wide Celebration

The NHL, NHLPA and NHL Alumni will all support the celebration with use of their social media channels and other Canadian celebrities and Canadian icons past and present will be encouraged to do their part in helping thank the 1972 team for their contributions.

Jean-Jean Pelletier and John Yorke are helping to coordinate a celebration planned at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, as well as gatherings throughout Canada to toast the 50th Anniversary. Several prominent alcohol and beverage brands will be launching new products in conjunction with the 50th anniversary, with proceeds going directly to the players. These commemorative products will be widely available in Canada. LCBO and the SAQ, the main distributors of wines, spirits and beers throughout both Ontario and Quebec, will also participate with live signature bottled helping support the #ThankYou1972 initiative.

Canada Post Stamp

Other brands who are contributing to the celebration include:

CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

The CBC will be launching a 4-episode series about the 1972 team in September.

CBC

Noroi Distillery

Founded in 2019 by Jonathan Robin, located in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada, Noroi is one of the biggest distilleries in Quebec. With more than 30 products, spirits, ready to drink, bitter, non-alcoholic and a vegan foamer, Noroi is a leader in innovation and R&D development. 

noroi
Jean-Jean Pelletier and Jonathan Robin, Founder of Noroi Distillery

Noroi utilizes cold distillation and thanks to their unique glass reactor which creates an absolute void, lowering the boiling point of the mixture of water, alcohol and herbs to temperatures below 0°C. Unlike the traditional method, the cold distillation process preserves molecules that are sensitive to heat. Noroi’s high-performance spiral condenser system, cooled with liquid nitrogen, allows the distillery to avoid an alteration of the flavours and to capture the subtleties found in their ingredients.

The Distillery is celebrating Team Canada’s 1972 Summit Series anniversary with a special 72 Canada Dry Gin.

Gin

Visit distillerienoroi.com to learn more.  

Le Bilboquet microbrewery

Founded in 1990 and located in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada, this microbrewery specializes in malt and barrel-aged beers. Comprised of a team of passionate beer lovers, they bonded together in a small brewpub downtown and have grown to having distribution in over 2,500 stores. Their best seller is a Scotch ale brewed with honey. 

The microbrewery is celebrating Team Canada’s 1972 Summit Series anniversary with a special 72 Canada Blond Beer.

Cans

Visit lebilboquet.qc.ca to learn more.

Charton Hobbs

Since 1925, Charton Hobbs has been cultivating the Canadian wine and spirits landscape. By partnering with international producers, leading retailers, and hospitality trade networks, the brand offers premium products and branded experiences to consumers across the country.

Today, Charton Hobbs is one of the nation’s leading alcoholic beverages organizations, recognized for its long-term, focused, brand-building initiatives. They hold one of the most comprehensive wine and spirits portfolios in Canada and are the ambassadors of premium brands such as Belvedere Vodka, Dom Perignon, Hennessy, Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Seagrams. Charton Hobbs’ industry-leading results make them the partner of choice for Canadian liquor boards, supply chain buyers, and hospitality groups.

Visit chartonhobbs.com to learn more.

Oggi Foods

Oggi Foods is celebrating Team Canada’s 1972 Summit Series anniversary with a line of limited edition 72 Canada Classic Canadian-style pizzas. Oggi Foods is a pioneer in producing gourmet and authentic gluten-free Italian products. Using Neapolitan recipes, Oggi Foods creates an authentic pizza without gluten and with the finest GMO-free ingredients.

Oggi Foods strives to create the best frozen products that are delicious, nutritious, and allergen-free. Winning multiple awards, the brand’s gluten-free crusts are the only ones in the industry with rising air pockets. By combining Italian traditions and modern innovation, Oggi has created the best gluten-free pizza on the market!

oggi

Visit oggifoods.com to learn more.

Alfred Technologies

A premium beverage management solution, Alfred Technologies helps restaurants and big collectors optimize their inventory, saving time and profits. Designed to meet the needs of the hospitality industry, find out why leading restaurants keep track of their wine, spirits and other beverage inventory management with Alfred.

“I grew up in the 1970s playing hockey with my sisters while imitating Ken Dryden wearing his mask. I had to be there with my company Alfred to celebrate the 50th anniversary and tell them how they inspired me to never give up!” – Guy Doucet, Founder of Alfred Technologies.

Visit alfredtechnologies.com to learn more.

Domaine Queylus

If you were blindfolded and dropped in the Niagara region of Canada, one would forgive you for thinking you were in a lush vineyard in France. The Niagara region of Ontario, Canada produces some amazing wines thanks to its temperate climate and proximity to Lakes Ontario and Erie. Domaine Queylus is a small batch, premium winery located in the heart of the Niagara Peninsula. Dedicated to the truest expression of the land, they produce elegantly styled, low-intervention Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Domaine Queylus is where terroir meets passion.

Quaylus

Learn more at queylus.com.

GrapeStars

GrapeStars is game-changing online marketplace where celebrities can promote their wine and spirits brands directly to fans via social media through the first-ever virtual direct-to-consumer sales channel.

Until today, consumers have struggled to find any of the 200+ celebrity brands at retailers. Now through GrapeStars, fans can get those brands and products shipped directly to their doorstep.

Grapestars

Featured on the platform are wine and spirits brands from celebrities including: Brad Pitt, Andrea Bocelli, Kendall Jenner, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ryan Reynolds, Drake, Nick Jonas, John Bon Jovi, Post Malone, Bruno Mars, Sting, Robert De Niro, Matthew McConaughey, John Legend, Mariah Carey, 50 Cent and many more.

Learn more on Grapestars.com.

JJ

“IT’S TRULY AN HONOR TO PARTICIPATE IN THE COMMEMORATION OF THE  50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SUMMIT SERIES. AS A HUGE HOCKEY FAN, TO BE INVOLVED WITH ALL OF MY CHILDHOOD IDOLS IN THIS ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME PROJECT IS A DREAM COME TRUE. MY PARTNERS AND I ARE VERY PROUD OF THE AMAZING PRODUCTS WE ALL DEVELOPED IN JOINT COLLABORATION FOR TEAM CANADA 72. I PERSONALLY WANT TO CONGRATULATE THE EMPLOYEES OF MICROBRASSERIE BILBOQUET, DISTILLERIE NOROI,  ALFRED TECHNOLOGIES, DOMAINE QUEYLUS, CHARTON HOBBS, OGGI FOODS, Ron Duguay, a360MEDIA and RAIN43 FOR ALL THEIR SUPPORT AND PROFESSIONALISM as well as my brother robert who helped with the design seen on some of the 50th anniversary COMMEMORATIve products. When mr. Serge savard called me, it was natural for me to jump on this opportunity, as IT WAS IMPORTANT FOR US TO REMIND ALL CANADIANS OF THE EXCEPTIONAL DEDICATION OF OUR PLAYERS DURING THIS HISTORIC HOCKEY SERIES. NOW, LET’S CELEBRATE OUR CANADIAN HOCKEY LEGENDS AND CHEERS FOR THEIR AMAZING SUCCESS.” — JEAN JEAN PELLETIER, ENTREPRENEUR AND CO-FOUNDER OF GRAPESTARS

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