Ice War Diplomat: Hockey Meets Cold War Politics at the 1972 Summit Series
Published by: Douglas and McIntyre (2013) Ltd.
Imprint: Douglas & McIntyre
Sales Date: 2022-04-16
Published: April 2022
Imprint: Douglas & McIntyre
Page Count: 336 Pages
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
336 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.10 in
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Discover a diplomacy mission like no other in Ice War Diplomat, the behind-the-scenes story of the historic 1972 Summit Series. Amid the tension of the Cold War, caught between capitalism and communism, Canada and the Soviet Union, young Canadian diplomat Gary J. Smith must navigate the rink, melting the ice between two nations skating a dangerous path.
On his first overseas assignment, Smith is tasked with finding common ground and building friendships between the world’s two largest countries. Once in Moscow, he opts for sports diplomacy, throwing off his embassy black tie and donning the blue-and-white sweater of the Moscow Maple Leafs.
Trusted by each side with unparalleled access to officials, coaches and players on both teams, Smith witnesses this unique and epic hockey series that has come to transcend time, becoming a symbol of the unity and clarity that sports can offer. The 1972 Canadian-Soviet Hockey Series will go down in history as a pivotal political event, changing the course of two nations and the world of hockey—the fascinating story in these pages will appeal to history and sports fans alike.
“A rare side of the Summit Series story that has never been told. A fascinating insider view of how Canada/Russia ’72 was much bigger than the game.”James Duthie, TSN hockey host
"In 1972, Canada’s birthright, our game, hockey, was suddenly open to inspection. Gary J. Smith wasn’t asked to referee the now famous hockey series between the Soviet Union and Canada, he was asked to referee something greater. He was handed the Cold War. He was twentyeightRon MacLean, host of Hockey Night in Canada
years old. With suspicion aroused on both sides, each whisper, every secret, kept feeding into the question, “What is hidden in their hearts?” Such a question bears discussion and publicity. One man had the necessary skill set. Finally, the incredible story of the glue in ’72. The Ice War Diplomat."
"The Canada–Russia series was a truly iconic moment in hockey history. But it was more—a fascinating time in Canadian diplomatic history. Gary J. Smith was a young, Russian-speaking diplomat with a ringside seat. His story is engaging and brilliantly told." Bob Rae, ambassador and permanent representative of Canada to the United Nations
"They were just supposed to be exhibition games, but the Summit Series turned out to be bigger than the Stanley Cup, and a highlight of my career. I enjoyed Gary J. Smith’s accurate and excellent account. Ice War Diplomat brought back very good memories."Frank Mahovlich, hockey legend and Team Canada member
"This vivid portrayal of the characters who made the Series happen is a thriller! Smith renders brilliantly the diplomatic skills and sharp minds displayed off-ice and in backrooms that delivered not just a unique hockey faceoff, but a top foreign policy priority of the Canadian PM. His own backstory as a first-time diplomat makes us relate even more." Anne Leahy, ambassador of Canada to Russia 1996-1999; first secretary, Canadian embassy to the USSR 1980-1982
"An engaging and colourful eye-witness account, Ice War Diplomat greatly increases our understanding of the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the USSR, by focusing on its little-known but crucial diplomatic history. As Smith shows, staging the series that led to one of Canada’s most iconic sports moments was first and foremost a triumph of diplomacy."Brendan Kelly, Head of the Historical Section at Global Affairs Canada, and author of The Good Fight: Marcel Cadieux and Canadian Diplomacy, winner of the 2020 J.W. Dafoe Book Prize
"Gary J. Smith is the original hockey “Insider.” His Ice War Diplomat contains sweeping history, sharp analysis, keen new insights, and enough action to stand with the best of hockey books. But there is so much more here, much of it unknown before. He was the only one with full access to
both sides during the 1972 Summit Series and, believe me, the games off the ice were often as challenging as those on. It’s like seeing the series all over again, with sharper eyes." Roy MacGregor, author, columnist and feature writer for the Globe & Mail
"Canadian hockey fans remember Canada’s breathtakingly narrow victory in the fabled 1972 eight-game series against the Soviet Union. Now Gary J. Smith, then a young diplomat at the Canadian embassy in Moscow assigned to be Canada’s link with the Soviet hockey authorities, offers the definitive account of how the Soviets viewed, prepared for and reacted to the series. A tour de force of reportage, history and analysis." Jeffrey Simpson, national columnist for the Globe & Mail
"Gary Smith’s Ice War Diplomat is like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy meets Disney’s Miracle on Ice, with cases of Molson and vodka as the rink boards and KGB spies masquerading as hockey officials. Smith captures the troika of hockey, history, and diplomacy in one fascinating book. We all know the ending, but it’s a long and winding – and sometimes wild – road to Henderson’s goal in this gripping first person account, which promises to delight." Paul Deegan, Policy Magazine