I remember it well. I was a kid too young to be out with buddies celebrating but instead was dialed into hockey pretty tight. This wasn’t New Year’s eve, this was Canada vs. Russia.
Here’s a great clip from the post-game interview with Howie Meeker interviewing Pete Mahovolich. Gotta love Meeker’s lead into one question where he describes big Pete coming out of the corner and having Tretiak “down and out to dinner”.
Later, Meeker describes hockey as the “…greatest entertainment in the world today, played by the greatest people, regardless of whether you are from Canada, the United States, Czechoslovakia or Russia…”. At a time when the cold war still raged, this guy could have cared less – it was all about the hockey and he had a world view of the game long before many others in Canada.
Mahovolich comments about how the game was played a lot like it used be played “on the pond” with players not having to worry about sticks up around their ears.
At the end of the game, it was very cool to see Mahovolich and Cournoyer, with Tretiak in the middle, waving to the fans from centre ice at the old Forum as the organ played in the background. The boards were white, some of the Habs were still without helmets and Dick Irvin was his classic self, gushing forth about how ridiculously better the Habs were than their foes on this night, as he did in every game he ever did as the Habs colour man.