Quotable

"Canadian hockey pros don't wear helmets. They wear nothing. The only one who wears anything is Bobby Hull. He wears a wig."

Nikolai Ozerov

The Russian Foster Hewitt

Canadians know that Foster Hewitt came out of retirement to famously call the greatest hockey series there ever was. Back then Hewitt was as much a part of hockey as the sticks and pucks and the goals and the fights.
 
Have you ever wondered who called the games for the Russians? And did that man have the same impact on his country as Hewitt did on ours?
 
Meet Nikolai Ozerov - the dean of Soviet sports announcers. Without doubt he was the "Russian Foster Hewitt," and yes he did have a great impact on the game in Russia.
 
Ozerov - a former tennis star from the 1940s, actually was scheduled to call various sporting events in the 1972 Summer Olympics, but he was so popular in Russia that he was reassigned for this historic series against Canada.

That was just fine with Ozerov. He loved hockey and his passion for the game came through in his broadcasts.

"I love hockey very much," he said. "We Soviets are very strong hockey fans; we enjoy this game. Our fans are very happy they will finally get a chance to see the Canadian professionals in action."

"Comrade Hockey," as he was known, was a regular on hockey broadcasts from the 1950s through the 1980s. He generally preferred to call the game from ice level as opposed to the traditional "bird's eye view" of the game from a press box higher up. Commercial breaks weren't common either, and he most often worked alone - thus he had a lot of talking to do when there was a stoppage in the action.