Teammates will never forget Bergman

The late Gary Bergman was a top defenseman with the Detroit Red Wings in the 8 seasons prior to the 1972 showdown, but it was a mild surprise when he was given the invite to be a member of the initial Team Canada. With Bobby Orr and Jacques Laperriere injured and Dallas Smith declining for personal reasons, the 33 year old Kenora, Ontario, native not only made the team, but played perhaps the 8 greatest games of his life!. He gained great respect from his teammates, his opponents and fans all around the world for his gritty and effective play which made him standout in a series full of standouts.

"He was one of the biggest surprises in terms of contribution that we had," said coach Harry Sinden in retrospect. "We felt he could be a regular member of the team but his contribution exceeded that. He was a terrific member of the team, and well respected.''

``From my perspective, he was one of the great unsung heroes of that series,'' series scoring star Paul Henderson told The Canadian Press recently. ``He just played incredible hockey.''

Bergman's partner during the series was Hall of Famer Brad Park.

``We hit it off really good for guys who didn't know each other very well,'' Park noted years later. ``I was more of an offensive guy so we jelled very well together. Right away I realized what a classy guy he was in how he handled himself on and off the ice, and what a great competitor he was. He had a lot of confidence in his ability and wasn't worried about how he was going to play. He just went out and played. He was as solid a defenseman as has ever played the game.''

Bergman is perhaps best remember for a dirty exchange in game 7 involving Soviet captain Boris Mikhailov. Bergman hammered the centerman into the boards late in the game, which triggered a minor brawl. Hockey fans everywhere were sickened when Mikhailov began kicking Bergman in the shins in a disturbing attempt to injure the Canadian defender.

" As we skated off the ice after the last game, I stopped for one more look around the old barn. I realized that never in my life would I be prouder or have more respect for a group of men than I did at that moment," Gary Bergman was once quoted as saying. 

Bergman, who wound out his career by bouncing around with the Wings, Minnesota North Stars and Kansas City Scouts, died on December 8, 2000 after an 8 month fight with cancer.

1972 Summit Player Profile
 Team Canada
 #2 - Gary Bergman - Defense

Position: D
Shoots: Left
Height: 5-11
Weight: 188
Born: 10/7/1938 Kenora, Ontario
1972 NHL Team: Detroit Red Wings

Summit Series Statistics

8 0 3 3 13 6 9 15

Other Team Canada Appearances - None

NHL Career Notes - From 1964 through 1976, Gary Bergman established himself as one of the NHL's steadiest defensive defenseman. Reliable though never fancy, Bergman was an a fantastic shot blocker who was never underestimated by his peers and teammates.

Career NHL Statistics
Regular Season 838 68 299 367 1249
NHL Playoffs  21 0 5 5 20
Book Feature
Read memories of Gary Bergman and the Summit Series in Team Canada 1972: Where Are They Now?  By Brian McFarlane $21.26 Cdn


Special Offers

1972 Summit Series Games

Game One
Game Two
Game Three
Game Four
Game Five
Game Six
Game Seven
Game Eight

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Canada's Team of the Century