The Greatest Game
The Montreal Canadiens, the Red Army, and the Night That Saved Hockey
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This game wasn't about money, points, or trophies. Instead it was played for pride, both personal and national. It was a confrontation twenty years in the making and it marked a turning point in the history of hockey.
On December 31, 1975, the Montreal Canadiens, the most successful franchise in the NHL, hosted the touring Central Red Army, the dominant team in the Soviet Union. For three hours millions of people in both Canada and the Soviet Union were glued to their television sets. What transpired that evening was a game that surpassed all the hype and was subsequently referred to as "the greatest game ever played." Held at the height of the Cold War, this remarkable contest transcended sports and took on serious cultural, sociological, and political overtones. And while the final result was a 3-3 tie, no one who saw the game was left disappointed. This exhibition of skill was hockey at its finest, and it set the bar for what was to follow as the sport began its global expansion.
From the Hardcover edition.