Additional Resources

Legends of Hockey - Father Bauer Tribute

Soviets Even Surprised Father Bauer

If there was any Canadian familiar with the rise of the Soviet hockey program over the decade prior to the epic meeting in 1972, it was Father David Bauer. But even Bauer, one of the few Canadians who respected the Soviet game at the time, gave the Russians no chance to win.

Below is an article from the Toronto Sun newspaper written by Father Bauer himself. We post it here to illustrate just how confident Canadians were prior to game one. Almost everyone predicted an easy 8-0 sweep, including Bauer.

Reasons to expect TOTAL victory
By Father David Bauer
Source: The Toronto Sun – September 2, 1972

I expect total victory from the National Hockey League All Stars in their series against the Soviet Union.

There are several reasons for my expectations. I believe the biggest blow the Soviet National Team received was the dismissal of its two coaches, Anatoli Tarasov and Arkadij Chernishev.

The decision to drop them may have been prompted by the belief of Soviet hockey authorities, that it was time to get away from the mechanical system of play advocated by Tarasov and Chernishev.

Perhaps, in the long run, this move will pay off. But as far as the im­mediate future is concerned, particularly the series against top NHL players, the Soviet authorities might regret their decision.

The Soviets have many young, upcoming hockey players with con­siderable talent. But, so do we.

In my views, experience, shooting and goaltending favors our team and that's why I cannot see how we could have any problems.

In my opinion the Soviets will try to keep the score respectable on the strength of their superb conditioning, tenacious checking and dedication. Still, all this could fall apart if the Canadian team were to score a couple of quick goals at the start of the games.

It also could happen, that we might find the Russians over-conditioned and - regardless what anybody else says - our players are bound to be somewhat under-conditioned. This will be no fault of the coach or the players themselves.

The timing was off

It's obvious the timing for the series is not the best. But it was the only time it could be arranged. I don't think the series would have materialized had it not been for the efforts of Hockey Canada and, par­ticularly, the efforts of its president, Charles Hay.

Hockey Canada could not foresee developments such as the emergence of the World Hockey Association. In light of recent developments and the loss of some players, I don't think we should use the title, Team Canada. That name should be reserved for the day when we can use our best players. What we have now is really an all-star team of Canadians chosen from the NHL.

Like many Canadians I can't say that I am happy with the restrictions placed on the selection of players for our team, and I expressed this fact in the discussion and vote of the meeting of Hockey Canada directors August 2.

But since the players chosen are in fact Canadians, I do not see any objection to the name Canada being on their sweaters, rather than INHL All-Stars or some other such name.

As for the Russians, I think they've realized they've reached a certain plateau and they could improve only by playing our professionals. With more than 3,000,000 youngsters playing hockey in the Soviet Union, Russian hockey officials believed they'd have to provide them with a higher standard of play to shoot for.

While the Russians will not be under pressure in the series, there have been suggestions the Canadian players may have trouble to respond to the pressure. I think they’ll respond to it the same way they've been responding to Stanley Cup pressure.

What they'll have to do, however, is to dedicate themselves to this eight-game series from start to finish. By that I mean from training camp right on until after the last game. If they do that, I cannot see how they could fail.

I'm saying this, because I've been associated with Canada's National Team from 1963 to 1969. We didn't have the calibre of players, who'll represent Canada this time around, yet we were not far behind the Russians.

In our first year, in 1964, with a team practically composed of junior hockey players, the Russians beat us only 3-2 in the Olympics at Innsbruck.

Canada wasn't disgraced

The following year, when we re-organized, the team and tried to com­bine veterans and student players flown in for the championships, we were beaten 4-1, but we didn't disgrace ourselves.

In 1966 in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia, we were given the short end of the stick by officials in the game against Czechoslovakia, and our players wanted to withdraw prior to the game against Russia. They stayed on after being up talking all night and lost easily to the Soviets.

But in 1967 we beat them in Winnipeg in the Centennial tournament and we won it. In the world championship in Vienna that year we lost 1-1 or, an off-side and even scored on ourselves.

It was a little more difficult in the 1968 Olympics at Grenoble. We were forced to compete without our pros and we lost to the Russians 5-0 in what, I thought, was the best performance by any Russian team.

In our last year of operation, 1969, we had to ice an inexperienced team and we were badly beaten by the Russians in the first round, but regained some of our respectability in the second round.

Over the years I've been very proud of the boys who played for the Nats. If we could have added some of the superstars who'll take part in this series, the Nats also would have beaten the Russians.

Mind you. three of them - Ken Dryden, Rod Seiling and Brian Glennie - did play for the Nats at one time or other. On the other hand a number of former Nats have found their way into the NHL.

Among them are: Billy MacMillan, Terry Clancy, Marshall Johnston, Gerry Pinder, Danny O'Shea, Kevin O'Shea, Ab Demarco, Fran Huck, Rod Zane, Seth Martin, Wayne Stephenson, George Swarbrick, Ken Broderick, Brian Conacher, Denis Dupere, Bob Murdoch, Terry Caffery, Ken Stephenson, Gary Dineen, Chuck Lefley and some others.

There's one player I'd have liked to have seen with the Nats and would like to see against the Russians this year - Bobby Orr.

I'm sure if the Russians had Orr they would have a chance against Canada in the series.