Stories from the ’72 Project

Parents Trip of a Lifetime

By John L.

I was in the school gym watching with a bunch of excited kids.My parents were actually there sitting behind the Canadian goalie,half way up. We were living in Garson, Ontario at the time. My father worked underground for INCO. My mother ran a small convenience store called the Jolly Jug. Coke had a promotion for the managers;  for  every ten cases of coke she ordered, her name was put into a drawing to win a trip to Russia to watch the hockey games. She did win but they almost didn’t go . Money was tight those days raising three boys, but they managed to come up with some money.  All their friends talked them into not missing this trip of a life time, so off they went.

My father got a big kick out of hanging with the rich people that went over to Russia to watch the games. He told them that he was into mining, they thought precious minerals, he meant being a driller at the Garson mine. I heard a lot of stories about the trip. They stayed in the same hotel as most of the hockey players stayed in. I have a picture of Pete Mahovlich with his arm around my five foot tall mother. One night my parents were awakened by banging on their door, there was Phil Esposito looking for an ice bucket. My father recently gave me the team rosters signed by many of the Canadians players, coaches and announcers. I had it framed and will treasure it for ever. When asked why he didn’t have any of the Russian autographs, he told me they practiced in a different arena and he was scared to travel there.

Well enough of the stories. I asked him what he remembers when the last goal was scored. They all jumped up and screamed, he actually shook hands with one of the Russian soldiers that was standing near by.  When the Canadians sat as a group, the soldiers were always standing on the steps, leading down to their seats, behind them and in front by the glass. Them Canadians must have been a loud, wild group. I was told Canada would cheer and the Russian fans would always whistle. Well that is a little of their stories. They had a great time and felt very lucky to have been there.


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