While Georgetown may seem far from connected to the legendary performances of the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union, the community was definitely not immune to the excitement that spread across that nation at that time.
As the entire country stopped what it was doing and tuned in, Sean Mitton can recall teachers at Centennial and Georgetown District rolling televisions into classrooms and auditoriums to watch the hockey game.
Now, the Georgetown native has captured this magic in a book he recently co-authored, aptly named When Canada Shut Down: 50th Anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series. It features 72 different short stories from Canadian and Soviet Union perspectives.
One of the tales focuses on Fred Harrison, a Georgetown resident at the time who was one of 3,000 Canadian fans who travelled to watch the Summit Series matchups in Moscow. Out of pure luck, Harrison attended a game in Moscow with NHL legend Maurice Richard.
"Rocket Richard didn't have a ticket, and so the lady Fred Harrison was with at the time gave Richard her ticket. She went to the ballet with Rocket's wife," explained Mitton.
Other stories include perspectives from the grandsons of Paul Henderson and Vladislav Tretiak, interviews from game intermissions not seen in 50 years, and alternate description of events by the radio crew Bob Cole and Fred Sgambati.
Henderson, arguably the hero of the series, helped Mitton and his co-author with the foreword in When Canada Shut Down. He scored game-winning goals in the final three games of the eight-game contest between the two nations.
"I kept on having this idea that if something ever happened to Paul, people wouldn't share these stories anymore,” said Mitton. “I asked Paul if I do this book, would you support me in this process? He said yes, and we have been friends ever since. I have been very fortunate to have a friendship with him.”
Mitton recently delighted Georgetown residents by doing talks about the nostalgia of the Summit Series at seniors’ centres and residences.
He was also featured on a Sportsnet podcast and signed books at the Toronto Sports Memoriabiolia Expo.
When Canada Shut Down is available to purchase online and at Mold-Masters SportsPlex.