Dale Tallon was one of two Vancouver Canucks on Team Canada - Jocelyn
Guevremont was the other. There was an agreement that all three Canadian teams
were to be represented with at least 2 players on Team Canada 1972. Without
that agreement it is likely that neither of Vancouver's two promising
defensemen would have played in the Summit Series.
In fact, neither did. Both practiced with the team
and were members of the "Black Aces" - the spare players who knew
they weren't going to play but had to prepare just in case an injury came up.
That scenario nearly presented itself in the
historic game eight. Both Bill White and Pat Stapleton were nursing sore
ankles, and were questionable prior to game time. Tallon dressed for the warm
ups but ultimately it was decided that two outstanding defenseman would
participate in the game.
Tallon got out of his gear and had quite a story
to tell of how he watched that drama unfold. He constantly shifted his
position in the rink to view the action, in an attempt to find that one
"I tried every spot I could to try and change
our luck," he said. "I watched from where the Zamboni came out, and
from behind the bench.
"For the last period, I sat in Bobby
Clarke's seat [in the dressing room] because he had hung a rabbit's foot
there. I couldn't see the game, I'd just listen for sounds to see how it was
"In the last minute, I couldn't stand it,
so I rushed out to the rink [in time for Paul Henderson's winning goal]. Of
course, trying to get on the ice was like fighting a war because there were so
many of those Red Army guys around."
Tallon, who did play in one of the two
exhibition games in Sweden and in the exhibition game in Russia, was never
upset about not playing in the series. He relished the opportunity to practice
with the best in the world, and in fact it helped him reach a major decision
in his hockey career. One of the major reasons he was never able to become a
star at the NHL level was because his NHL bosses could never decided if he
should be playing left wing or defense - two positions he played well at.
"After Team Canada it was pretty well set
in my mind that I could play defense and play it well."