Unhappy Hadfield Never Resented By Team

Unfortunately for Vic Hadfield, he is remembered more as the unhappy left winger who left the team early.

Hadfield had played in 2 of the 4 games played in Canada, failing to pick up a point in either contest. Once the series shifted to Russia with the Canadians down 3-1-1, the coaching staff announced they would shorten their bench to a core group of about 20 players, leaving 15 as spectators. Hadfield was among those who was told he would sit out the rest of the series.

Hadfield initially accompanied Team Canada to Russia, but once he found out he couldn't even practice with the full team, he and some others began seriously thinking about going home.

A group rumoured to be between 10 and 13 skaters initially had seriously considered leaving. In the end only 4 did. Jocelyn Guevremont left because his wife had become ill while in Russia. Gilbert Perreault and Richard Martin both returned to the Buffalo Sabres training camp as they were pressured by their boss Punch Imlach.

Hadfield left too.

"I had just signed a pretty substantial contract with the Rangers, so my first priority then became the New York Rangers," Hadfield said. 

There was never any animosity about the decision to leave. Hadfield and the others had the full support and respect of the coaching staff and their Team Canada peers. To this day there appears to be almost no bad blood about their decision, and all 4 are welcomed members at alumni events.

But at the time the Canadian press were all over the "deserters." And Hadfield blames Alan Eagleson for that.

Eagleson had told Hadfield and the others that he would hold a press conference, and have everything smoothed over with the relentless media by the time they landed in North America. However Eagleson never did hold that press conference. He deserted the deserters, who weren't really deserters at all.

"If there had been any injuries, we were all prepared to hop on a plane back to Moscow," Hadfield said. "That was never explained by Eagleson."

Many years later, Hadfield still doesn't regret his decision to go home.

"The easiest thing for me would have been to stay," he said. "But that wouldn't have done justice to my hockey club. I had an obligation to the team and the New York fans," he said in an Globe and Mail interview in 1997.

1972 Summit Series.com Player Profile
 Team Canada
 #11 - Vic Hadfield - Left Wing

Position: LW
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-0
Weight: 190
Born: 10/4/1940 Oakville, Ontario
1972 NHL Team: New York Rangers

Summit Series Statistics

2 0 0 0 0 2 4 -3

Other Team Canada Appearances - None

NHL Career Notes - A NHL player from 1961 through 1977, Hadfield is remembered as a rugged winger who could chip in offensively regularly.

He exploded for by far his best NHL season in 1971-72 when he became the first New York Ranger to score 50 goals in a season. He added 56 assists for 106 points and a NHL Second All Star Team spot.

Career NHL Statistics
Regular Season 1002 323 389 712 1154
NHL Playoffs  73 27 21 48 117


Book Feature
Read Vic Hadfield's memories of the Summit Series in Team Canada 1972: Where Are They Now?  By Brian McFarlane $21.26 Cdn


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1972 Summit Series Games

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