Story by Adrian Brijbassi
KITCHENER, ONTARIO — It’s the 40th anniversary of the Summit Series, the historic hockey event that seized the attention of this nation for one September — and continues to fascinate us all these years later. Canada defeated Russia in eight scintillating games that remain a defining moment for the sport and the country. At THEMUSEUM in Kitchener, the Summit Series is a major attraction of “Arena,” an exhibit that looks at hockey’s importance to art, culture and history. There are interactive displays, fantastically imaginative creations and some eye-catching art. But it is the continuous showing of a documentary about the 1972 Summit Series that is most enthralling. We love sports because we love drama. These games, full political high stakes and bad blood, endure in our memory because they are still the most dramatic Canada has ever been involved in.
David Marskell, CEO of THEMUSEUM, remembers watching the final game in a friend’s basement and pouring out onto the street after Paul Henderson’s goal — arguably the most significant ever scored — gave Team Canada a 6-5 victory on September 28, 1972. “It’s a moment that if you were alive and old enough to remember it, you will never forget,” he says while watching a replay of that goal at his museum.
The Summit Series documentary is played alongside the 2010 Olympics gold-medal game, in which Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal lifted Canada to victory over the US. Although that was one of the best contests ever played in terms of skill level (and officiating), it pales next to the ’72 Summit Series. The “Arena” exhibit, which runs to May 6, offers us another moment to reflect again on this moment in Canadian history that will never fade.
The exhibit also offers loads of fun at this facility that began as a children’s museum. Hans Oussoren has a membership to THEMUSEUM and brings his son and daughter regularly. “The content for kids is great,” he says of “Arena” and the museum’s permanent exhibits. “My son really likes the skills competition, and so do I. There’s lots for adults to enjoy too.”
From a deking game where you must beat the clock to a game that challenges your shooting accuracy, the features of “Arena,” which has been touring the country for a couple of years, will make it hard for you to put down a stick. It’s on the top level, though, where your eyes will have a hard time escaping. The Summit Series documentary — no matter how many times you’ve seen it — is captivating, especially in a setting full of hockey greatness and lore.
MORE ABOUT THEMUSEUM
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 10 am to 4 pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm (check website for holiday hours and special hours)
Admission: $14.69 for adults; $11.30 for children 3-12 years old; under 3 free (all prices include taxes)
Location: 10 King Street West, Kitchener, ON. Telephone: 519-749-9387.
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