Gilbert Perreault, one of the NHL's most talented
forwards in the history of the game, was just a youngster when he made Team
Canada '72. He had just come off of his second NHL campaign, and getting a
chance to skate, practice and play with so many of the NHL's greatest stars was
a huge thrill to the Buffalo Sabres superstar.
Unfortunately many of the younger players on the
team didn't get a genuine chance to play due to the closeness of the series.
Perreault only got into 2 games and scored a lucky but spectacular goal in game
4 in Vancouver. He danced into the Soviet zone as only the leader of the French
Connection could, before circling behind Vladislav Tretiak's net and attempting
to center the puck. Instead the puck bounced off of a Soviet player and behind
Tretiak for a goal. Perreault called that goal the highlight of the tournament
for himself. He was probably the only player on the team to call the dreadful
Vancouver game a highlight.
Perreault was the center of controversy when he
left Team Canada before the series was over. Perreault, Richard Martin, Jocelyn
Guevremont and Vic
Hadfield (originally the departing group was said to be much larger) left the
team to return to their respective NHL camps. Perreault and Martin said they
felt pressured by Sabres boss Punch Imlach to return home since they were not
playing. The departing players had the blessing of Team Canada to do so, and
almost unanimous respect from their teammates despite leaving early. The
Canadian media tried to make a bigger deal out of the issue than it seemed to
Reportedly Perreault boycotts 1972
Team Canada reunions because he is still upset that he did not get to play a
bigger role in the tournament.