Monday, February 11, 2013

1979 Soviet Union National Team Viacheslav Fetisov Jersey

Prior to 1979, the Soviets had played against North American professionals three times, the first being the ground breaking 1972 Summit Series against a team of the best Canadians. The 1974 Summit Series revisited the concept, only this time against a team of the best players from the WHA rather than just Canadians. The first Canada Cup tournament took place in 1976, which had not only Team Canada and the Soviet National Team, but also teams from Sweden, Czechoslovakia, the United States and Finland.

The Challenge Cup was held in New York's Madison Square Garden and took the place of that season's traditional All-Star Game and consisted of a three game series held on February 8, 10 and 11, 1979.

Challenge Cup program
1979 Challenge Cup program cover

The NHL All-Star team was comprised of players without regards to the country they were born in, similar to the WHA All-Star team of the 1974 Summit Series. In all, the NHL All-Stars comprised 23 Canadians and three Swedes.

Guy Lafleur opened the scoring in Game 1 just 16 seconds into the game, but by now the North Americans had learned not to dismiss the Soviets, a lesson learned in Game 1 of the 1972 Summit Series. Each team scored a power play goal before the first period ended with the NHLers up by one.

The NHL extended it's lead in the second period with goals from Clark Gillies and Bob Gainey. Vladimir Golikov pulled one back for the Soviet Union 3:02 into the third, but the All-Stars circled the wagons and held off the Soviets the rest of the way to win 4-2 with Ken Dryden getting the win in goal for the NHL.

Challenge Cup pennant

Game 2 had the Soviet Union scoring first at 8:10 only to have the NHL score three consecutive goals , a power play from Mike Bossy and an even-strength goal from Bryan Trottier in the first followed by a Gilbert Perrault tally just 27 seconds into the second.

The Soviets fought back with a goal at 2:05 before Larry Robinson restored the All-Stars lead to two again at 5:06. That lead quickly disappeared when the Soviet Union scored at 17:02 on the power play and again 45 second later to even the game heading into the third.

Golikov got one past Dryden at 1:31 for the game winner, as the rest of the period was scoreless thanks to Vladislav Tretiak holding the All-Stars at bay to even the series at one game apiece.

Challenge Cup ticket

Game 3, played on this date in 1979, was simply all the Soviet Union as they put on a dazzling display of complete hockey. There was no score after the first period before the Soviets scored at 5:47 and again at 7:44 on a power play.

The third period was dominated by the Soviet Union as they solved goalie Gerry Cheevers again and again, scoring four times during a six minute span beginning at 8:44 to win the series 2 games to 1 with Vladimir Myshkin getting the shutout in his surprise debut for the Soviets.

1979 Challenge Cup team

While many people my not remember the Challenge Cup games, the cup itself is a spectacular trophy perhaps best remembered when the Soviet team returned to Madison Square Garden exactly one year later on February 9, 1980 and paraded the Challenge Cup around the ice prior to their 10-3 demolition of the United States Olympic Hockey Team in a tune-up match for the impending 1980 Olympics.

1979 Challenge Cup parade

This game occurred just 13 days before the Soviets shocking defeat in the "Miracle on Ice", when essentially the same Soviet team that easily dominated the best of the NHL 6-0 in Game 3 of the Challenge Cup lost to a team of American college players during the Olympics.

Similar to the Canada Cup trophy, the Soviets were allowed to win the trophy, but were not allowed to actually keep the trophy, which now resides in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Challenge Cup display

Today's featured jersey is a 1979 Soviet Union National Team Viacheislav Fetisov jersey. The Soviet Union jerseys were their usual utilitarian selves, simply adorned with CCCP in a simple font with legible numbers and some basic striping as an adornment, but with the addition of the repeating diamond pattern around the waist for a touch of flair not seen on the jerseys of the NHL All-Stars.

These Soviet jerseys would be the now familiar style as worn in the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York.

Soiet Union 1976-81 jersey photo RussiaCCCP1976-81F.jpg
 photo RussiaCCCP1976-81B.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1979 NHL All-Star Ken Dryden jersey. The jerseys worn by the NHL All-Star Team for the 1979 Challenge Cup were without a doubt the simplest, most plain ones ever worn by an NHL All-Star Team, and actually managed to make the Soviet jerseys almost look flashy by comparison!

Without so much as a single star on them, the closest thing these jerseys can be compared to are the NHL referee's sweaters worn in the 1940's only with the addition of a pair of stripes and bolder numbers.

NHL All Star 1979 jersey photo NHLAllStar1978-79F.jpg
NHL All Star 1979 jersey photo NHLAllStar1978-79B.jpg

Today's video highlights begin with all the goals scored in the 1979 Challenge Cup.

Game 1, won by the NHL All-Stars.


Game 2, the Soviets come from behind to win the game and turn the tide of the series.


The Soviet Union's dominant performance in Game 3.


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