Interview With Rod
Colleague Jay Moran recently interviewed Don Awrey, Rod Seiling and Harry Sinden. Mr. Moran agreed to share the interview transcripts pertaining to 1972 with the loyal readers of 1972 Summit Series.com
Below is the interview with Rod Seiling.
JM: The '72 Summit, you and Don Awrey were paired together, very solid together but I remember Harry Sinden said something about the Russians were too quick or your style of play. What was he talking about?
RS: "Well, I don't know, I'm not aware of Harry ever saying that. Before the series started I went to Harry and asked him to dress six defenseman. They didn't in the first game in Montreal. Awrey and I played every other shift for the whole game and we simply weren't...and the other three rotated. And by the end of the game we were just dead."
JM: You weren't in shape yet.
RS: "No, the whole team wasn't. And from that game on they dressed six defenseman. It had to do with our conditioning or our speed, it wasn't...I'll just leave it at that."
JM: That's a good point. He can get an impression off of that. But you need, like you said, six guys.
RS: "And I went to see him to ask him to play six because I'd played the Russians before. And I said I didn't believe at this stage we were in good enough condition and that we would need six defenseman."
JM: I'm surprised he broke up the Hadfield-Ratelle-Gilbert line there too, these guys worked together for so long. Was there any talk of why he was going with selected lines?
RS: "Well, I think as a coach when you're not winning or things are going in difficulty, you try different things. You put people together because you didn't have the luxury of...so anyway, he did what he did and I mean, I'm certainly not going to disparage Harry. You do what you need to do to try and win."
JM: People are still talking about that Series today, I imagine even more so in Canada.
RS: "Very much so here. But I mean, the end of the day, there was a huge amount of pressure on everyone to win. No more than on Harry and his coaches. And so one can understand why he might start juggling lines to try and find something that would work."
JM: Before the Summit Series the players generally didn't talk to one another but after that, after going through that, I imagine it sort of took the edge off when you played against someone else.
RS: "Very much so. We went to war with those guys and they were our teammates, they were our friends, they still are my friends. That might be difficult for some players to understand but be that as it may, we went through a lot together, we shared a common bond and we paid a terrific price to win but we did win. And that's something that we always have and, I mean, we still get together on an annual basis."
JM: Oh, for the Summit team?
RS: "Oh yeah. We actually have a players committee which I chair and we average once a year, a lot of us around a charity game but we also go to other events. And we bring the guys back and we have our own little corporate structure."
JM: Once the Player's Association came in and players started to be traded, that changed hockey where people, I would imagine talked more. It wasn't like the old days where it was us against them.
RS: "Well, I think very much that aspect of the game changed quite a bit from back in the 60s and 70s."
JM: You'd probably still get a check from someone in a game.
RS: "Oh, very much so."
Interview by Jay Moran