Following the success of the classic 1972 "Summit Series" between Canada and the Soviet Union, the Canada Cup was born. The tournament, which was hosted in North America and featured all the top hockey nations, took place prior to the NHL season so all of the top professionals could participate.

The first Canada Cup in 1976 didn’t feature the much-anticipated Canada/Russia rematch. Instead, the Canadians faced off against the Czechoslovakians with Darryl Sittler scoring the winner. This tournament will be remembered as the "last hurrah" for injury-riddled superstar Bobby Orr, who was unable to play during the ’72 Series. Orr captured the tournament’s MVP award but would never again perform up to this level.

The next Canada Cup was held in 1981 and saw Canada lose for the only time in the history of the tournament. The Russians bombed Team Canada 8-1 in the finals; but the loss would be avenged in the 1984 Canada Cup, which the Canadians won.

The 1987 Canada Cup featured arguably the greatest team ever assembled. This Summit Series team was recently voted Canada’s team of the Millennium, though a good c Read More
Following the success of the classic 1972 "Summit Series" between Canada and the Soviet Union, the Canada Cup was born. The tournament, which was hosted in North America and featured all the top hockey nations, took place prior to the NHL season so all of the top professionals could participate.

The first Canada Cup in 1976 didn’t feature the much-anticipated Canada/Russia rematch. Instead, the Canadians faced off against the Czechoslovakians with Darryl Sittler scoring the winner. This tournament will be remembered as the "last hurrah" for injury-riddled superstar Bobby Orr, who was unable to play during the ’72 Series. Orr captured the tournament’s MVP award but would never again perform up to this level.

The next Canada Cup was held in 1981 and saw Canada lose for the only time in the history of the tournament. The Russians bombed Team Canada 8-1 in the finals; but the loss would be avenged in the 1984 Canada Cup, which the Canadians won.

The 1987 Canada Cup featured arguably the greatest team ever assembled. This Summit Series team was recently voted Canada’s team of the Millennium, though a good case could also be made for the ’87 Canada Cup squad. Obviously, Canada won the ’87 tournament in which all three final games versus the Russians ending in 6-5 scores, with Canada winning two of them.

Ironically, it had been a 6-5 score that decided the famous Summit Series in 1972 as well. In that year, the winning goal at Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum paired two of the hockey’s greatest players ever. Team Canada, with the game tied 5-5, managed to get an odd-man rush in the dying moments with Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky on the ice. The two legends raced up the ice, Gretzky with the puck while Lemieux barrelled up the middle and defenseman Larry Murphy drove to the net. The rest, as they say, is history; Lemieux deposited the puck in the top corner of the Russian net with just 1:26 remaining on the clock.

The final Canada Cup was held in 1991 and, reflecting the Americans’ growing interest in hockey, featured a Canada/U.S. final that Canada won.

In 1996, the Canada Cup was replaced by a new but similarly structured tournament called the World Cup. The inaugural World Cup was held in North America, and again featured rosters made up of the best players in the world. Canada and the States locked horns in the finals, with the Americans emerging victorious with two late goals in the clinching game.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Bobby Orr

Defenseman Bobby Orr was named tournament MVP in the '76 Canada Cup, his only chance to play for Canada during his illustrious career.

CHIN

© Hockey Hall of Fame


Mark Messier

Mark Messier won Canada Cups in 1984, 1987 and 1991. His international achievements go along with six Stanley Cup championships.

CHIN

© Doug MacLellan/Hockey Hall of Fame


Darryl Sittler

Darryl Sittler scored the winning goal in 1976 to capture the championship for Canada in the inaugural Canada Cup.

CHIN

© Hockey Hall of Fame


Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Investigate the role that hockey plays in Canada’s national identity
  • Identify significant people involved in hockey in Canada
  • Explore Canada’s involvement over time in international hockey competitions including the Olympics and the Canada/USSR summit series

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