Seiling was a wonderful defenseman who never got the recognition he deserved
because of his classic stay at home style of hockey. Yet he was recognized in
1972 when he was included on Team Canada.
Seiling and a similar defenseman in
Don Awrey formed a formidable defensive pairing throughout Canada's training
camp. Coach Harry Sinden in fact called them the best pairing he had during that
time, and he rewarded them with a start in game one in Montreal.
Unfortunately, the dynamic duo was
anything but on that night.
The Soviet's explosive speed proved
to be too much for much of Team Canada on that night, especially the pairing of
Awrey and Seiling. Valeri Kharlamov in particular made the NHL veterans look
like practice pylons on more than one occasion.
The pairing was broken up after that
game, neither got back into the lineup on a regular basis (Seiling played 3
games, Awrey 2) and they didn't play together again. It was decided that these
old-school defensemen would be better paired with more mobile rearguards given
the immense skill and speed of the opponents.
Although he didn't get the
opportunity to play regularly, Seiling counts the 1972 Showdown as his career
highlight. The camaraderie the team established has lasted a lifetime.
Seiling was also very appreciative
of the 3000-plus Canadian fans who made the trip to Moscow to cheer Canada on to
"It gave us an indication that
Canadians were supporting us after, and that was very gratifying," he wrote
in Brian McFarlane's book Team Canada 1972 - Where Are They Now?
Those fans undoubtedly played a role
in the Canadian comeback. The team headed to Russia calling themselves Team 50 -
just the 35 players and the coaches and trainers taking on the world. By the
time they got their they were willing to do whatever it took, but the 3000
reinforcements chanting "Da Da Canada, Nyet Nyet Soviet" fuelled Team
Canada on to victory.
"Obviously, my strongest memory
is winning the series, especially after leaving this country in virtual
disgrace," Seiling said. "To be able to turn that around, and make
Canadians' dreams a reality, was special."
Also See: -
Jay Moran interviews Rod Seiling