Coming Down the Mountain: Rethinking the 1972 Summit Series

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By: Brian Kennedy

June 2014
324 pages | ISBN 978-1-894987-86-8

Was the 1972 Summit Series our “Canadian Iliad,” one of our formative myths as a country? Or was it the start of the politicization of hockey, a time when people could see the problems of a country in the rise and fall of its sport? And how did it play out in Quebec? Does everyone there remember where they were when Henderson scored the goal? Was this just a hockey game, and, to younger eyes, not that impressive a series, or was it a titanic battle of two systems of government taking place on ice? And why do we have these bobble-head dolls? The thirteen essays in the anthology examine the series from every angle, questioning its legacy and giving fresh insights into the way the Summit Series has impacted both hockey and Canada.

List of Contributors:

Michael Buma, Iri Cermak, Jamie Dopp, Tim Elcombe, Richard Harrison, Andrew C. Holman, Brett Kashmere, Brian Kennedy, Alexander Kubyshkin, Anna H. Lathrop, Daryl Leeworthy, Richard Lehman, Don Morrow, J. Andrew Ross, Tobias Stark and Julie Stevens


1. “Yeah, I’ve Got That, Too”: What’s Left (Over) from the Summit Series?
2. Da, Da, Canada; Nyet, Nyet, Soviet: From Hagiography to Reality in the Canada-Soviet 1972 Hockey Series
3. Pluralism and the 1972 Summit Series
4. Canadian Iliad: The Summit Series as Canadian Epic Poem
5. Watching Weekend: The Summit Series as Discourse on Modernity
6. Les Russes et Nous: The 1972 Summit Series and the Birth of Hockey Sovereignty in Quebec
7. Lions in Winter: the Summit Series, Professionalism, and the Renewal of Hockey in 1970s Britain
8. Boom or Bust? The Impact of the 1972 Summit Series on the Development of Women’s Hockey in Canada
9. From Sweden With Love: The Summit Series and the Notion of the Contemporary Canadian Hockey Player in Sweden
10. Hot Ice during Cold War: Soviet Reflections on Summit Series 1972
11. Media Retrospectives of the Summit Series
12. (Mis)Deeds of Gods and Heroes: Religion and the Suspension of Disbelief in the Summit Series
13. Lessons from Valery’s Ankle
14. Unintentional Epic: Ken Dryden’s Struggle with Words and the Myth of Team Canada
15. Reflections on Canadian Moral Nation-Making on the Occasion of the Summit Series’ Seventy-Fifth Anniversary
16. Do the Young People Still Believe? The Rise and Shift of Mythic Tradition



Forty plus years on, the Summit Series exists for Canadians as a set of what might appear to be uncomplicated facts. It was us versus the big evil other. Our guys banded together despite early setbacks to win. “The Goal” was a never-to-be-forgotten moment of triumph which united a large and politically fractious country. Access to this set of commonplace beliefs is as close as the nearest computer, DVD player or library bookshelf. Maybe it’s as close as the nearest Tim Hortons, where the question “Do you remember September 1972?” is likely to spark recognition, discussion and camaraderie, even amongst those too young to have witnessed it in person or who lived elsewhere at that time.

The present volume exists, in large measure, to ask what else there is to the Summit Series.


"Book Review: Coming Down the Mountain" (Anatoliy Metter, The Hockey Writers, 23/09/2014)
“From cultural pluralism to national identity to concepts of unity, Kennedy masterfully organizes his book into four easily digestible sections. By utilizing a wide array of narratives, Coming Down The Mountain succeeds chiefly by protesting the simplicity of the good vs. evil approach as well as the antiquated view of the Summit Series as little more than a reassertion of Canada’s dominance of the hockey world.”

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