The Possibilities of a 40th Anniversary Edition of the 1972 Summit Series

With the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series coming up next year, it’s time to think about what should be considered if such an anniversary series comes to fruition.

Original Cities

While the original series started in Montreal and moved westward with each subsequent game up to the halfway point, this time around, it should start in Vancouver, then go to Winnipeg, then Toronto, and finish in Montreal, and then head over to Moscow for the second half of the world tour. Since the original series, all four Canadian cities have erected new arenas for their teams of the day (Pacific Coliseum, while still in use for junior hockey, succeeded professionally by Rogers Arena; Winnipeg Arena, demolished and replaced by MTS Centre; Maple Leaf Gardens, while still standing, replaced by the Air Canada Centre; and the Montreal Forum, also still standing, supplanted by the Bell Centre).

Rule Changes

While the original and 35th anniversary series (the latter involving the nation’s junior teams) had regulation play, they did not use overtime and shootout, hence if tied through regulation, that was it. This time around, there should be a 5-minute 4-on-4 sudden death overtime period, and if that solves nothing, have a three-round shootout, using either NHL or IIHF extra-round rules if the first three rounds end tied. In the IIHF, if you go to extras in the shootout, you could use the same shooter in each round.

Keep it Professional

Like the 1972 Summit Series, this possible 40th anniversary edition should also feature professional players, and see how the NHLers and KHLers (plus both Canadians and Russians playing in other leagues around the world) handle affairs. For example, it wouldn’t be the first time Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, both Pittsburgh Penguins teammates, would play against each other in an international setup. It also wouldn’t be the last.

Who Should Broadcast It?

The original series was split between CTV and CBC, with both networks carrying the epic eighth and deciding contest. This is my view, but I think the CBC should carry all 8 games. Some of you might argue that CTV and/or TSN should carry it, a few others may suggest the same CTV/CBC split like there was in 1972. As for radio, all the games in 1972 were carried by CBC Radio. With so many sports radio stations available in a number of Canada’s largest cities, I’m not sure who exactly may want to handle it. (Editor’s note: Newfoundland and Labrador has no all-sports radio stations. Neither Rogers nor Bell Media have stations there.)

Summing Up

Whatever might happen for the 40th anniversary, it should prove as a tune-up to the upcoming Winter Olympics to be held in Russia in 2014.