Marcel Dionne had just come off of his rookie season in the
National Hockey League as the 1972 Team Canada training camp began, and many,
including himself, were surprised by his inclusion on Team Canada '72. But his
immense skill level was too hard to ignore, as his hockey career would prove in
the many seasons of greatness in the NHL following the tournament. Dionne
finished his career as the NHL's second highest scoring leader of all time.
Dionne never did make an appearance in the tournament, but he
quietly enjoyed his time. The coaching staff opted to go with the proven
veterans as it became obvious that the Series was going to be a battle of the
titans, young players like Dionne were relegated to back-bencher status.
But Dionne maintained a positive attitude through out.
"I just did what I was asked to do and enjoyed the company
of these great stars. I figured I could learn a lot from them even by practicing
with them," he wrote in the 2001 book Team Canada 1972: Where Are They Now?
"People ask if I [regret] not winning a Stanley Cup, but [winning the
series against the Soviet Union] was the best," he said in a 1997 interview
with the Globe and Mail. "It was the greatest experience of my hockey
career by far.
"There were many reasons: Being around all the great names of the game
at a young age because they were my heroes; the fact this meant so much to
Canada. It was just an incredible thing to be a part of.
"There was tremendous emotion. Every shift was so emotional. I've never
seen anything like it since. Some of the Canada Cups came close, but by then a
lot of [European] players came and played in our league so we were more familiar