Berenson is best known as the first "expansion star" of the National
Hockey League's 12 team era as he quickly developed into a scoring sensation
with the St. Louis Blues following the famed expansion of 1967.
Although he was the first Canadian player to make the direct jump from U.S.
college hockey into the NHL, he struggled throughout much of the 1960s with the
Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers. But when he joined the Blues partway
through the 1967-68 campaign, he blossomed.
Berenson, who was actually traded to
the Detroit Red Wings by 1972 due largely to his involvement with the NHLPA, was
a little used forward in the Summit Series however, as he got into only two
games. This despite being one of the few players who had actually had played
against the Soviets previously. Berenson led the 1959 world championship
tournament in scoring as the Belleville McFarlands knocked off the Russians to
win the lofty world title.
The Soviets had vastly improved in
the decade-plus since then, and were about to show it to Berenson and the rest
of the world in 1972. Berenson had a bird's eye view for most of the tournament,
as he watched from the stands. He did play in 2 games, including an infamous
game 6 in Moscow. That was the game that featured the obviously biased
officiating as the Canadians were assessed with 31 penalty minutes compared to
just 4 for the Russians. Despite spending half the game on the penalty kill,
Canada won the game 3-2, thanks in part to an Yvan Cournoyer goal that was set
up by Red Berenson - his only point of the series.
"The Red Baron" is known
for his lengthy NHL career including a very rare 6 goal game on November 7,
1968, but is perhaps better known as the long time coach of his alma mater
University of Michigan Wolverines.