Revisiting the ‘72 Summit Series at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

Photo by: Brenden Cowan

At 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre will host a screening for the documentary Ice-Breaker: The ‘72 Summit Series.

The ‘72 Summit Series was one of the biggest tournaments in hockey history. At the height of the Cold War, the best hockey players in Canada were pitted against their counterparts in Russia; the tension between the nations accentuated the games. This past September was its 50th anniversary.

This series has received extensive coverage before, but where preceding films have focused on the players’ perspectives, Ice-Breaker looks at the series from the perspectives around the game, including those of diplomats, NHL legends, Soviet players, the commentariat, fans, business leaders and Team Canada’s Chairman.

Along with the movie, the screening will include a Q&A session with five panellists: Robbie Hart, Gary J. Smith, Dr. Julie Stevens, Taylor McKee and Dr. Elisabeth Vlossak.

Robbie Hart is the director of Ice-Breaker. He has been making documentaries since 1986, and has won awards for works such as Turning Sixteen, an eight-part series on teenagers around the world and Rainmakers, a 13-part series on human rights activists.

Gary J. Smith is the author of the book Ice War Diplomat, and was formerly a diplomat at the Canadian embassy in Moscow in 1972. He was a major factor in making the 1972 Canada-Soviet Hockey Series happen, as well as keeping it from falling apart.

Dr. Julie Stevens is a sport management professor and the director of the Centre for Sport Capacity at Brock. For the past 30 years, Dr. Stevens has conducted diverse and transdisciplinary hockey research, with many of her publications emphasizing women’s hockey. Her works address topics such as institutional development, cultural diplomacy, innovation, governance, managerial logics and practices, player development models and ethics.

Taylor McKee is an sport management assistant professor at Brock, as well as the managing editor of the Journal of Emerging Sport Studies and member of the Indigenous Hockey Research Network. In October 2022, Taylor co-edited a collection titled Reaching the Summit: Reimagining the ’72 Summit Series in the Canadian Cultural Memory, a new depiction of this tournament that highlights diverse forms of criticism and storytelling modes.

Dr. Elizabeth Vlossak is an associate dean and associate professor in Brock’s history department. Her research interests include the cultural history of war, women’s and gender history, border studies, nations and nationalism, critical heritage studies, and the politics of commemoration.

This screening promises hockey fans and history buffs a chance to see this historic tournament from a different perspective, and to explore it beyond the scope of this documentary.

Tickets can be purchased for $9.50 on FirstOntario’s website.

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