How Advertising Helped Set The Stage for The 1972 Summit Series (Hockey)

In Saturday's edition of the Globe & Mail, the Focus section featured an incredible piece by journalist Patrick White, who had whittled down hundreds of hours of interviews with key players and organizers of the 1972 Summit Series between Team Canada and Russia into a few pages. One of the most interesting parts about the article for me (besides Phil Esposito's stories of training camp partying) was the role advertising played in the series. While setting it up, the organizers hired the agency Vickers & Benson to help them promote the games.

In the beginning, it was supposed to be the "NHL All Stars" verus Russia. However, the agencies creative director said no no was interested in this match-up. They had to tell a different story, and it seems his insight was to make it more of an international match-up. From this, one of his copywriters came up with the name "Team Canada." (Interestingly enough, this was the first time this naming convention for national sports teams had been used.)

The other part of the article that I thought was super interesting was that the iconic Team Canada hockey jersey was designed the night before the press conference by the ad agencie's art director. Apparently, he went out and bought one plain white jersey and one plain red jersey and just had his wife sew them together into the famous pattern.

Would we even remember this series if it hadn't been for those jerseys and the very idea of Team Canada instead of the NHL All Stars?

Check out the article and more on the Globe & Mail website. It goes into a lot more detail than the print edition.