An exhibition match marking the 40th anniversary of the hockey's legendary 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union could be played next month on Red Square, Russia's sports minister told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
"We have a working group, we have found partners on the Canadian side and sent them an invitation. We plan ceremony along with a hockey match on February 26. I don't rule out that the match will take place on Red Square," Vitaly Mutko said.
An official close to event organizers told RIA Novosti that 30 stars of past and present had been invited to take part, and four had already accepted: Former Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ray Bourque; Finland's former Edmonton Oilers forwards Jari Kurri and Esa Tikkanen; and Paul Henderson, who scored Canada's winning goals in the last three games of the summit series, securing victory for Canada.
Officials hope the Canadian captain during the series, Phil Esposito, will also take up the offer, along with Bobby Hull, Paul Coffey, Mark Recchi, Dale Hawerchuk and Wayne Gretzky, among others.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and International Ice Hockey Federation chief Rene Fasel are also invited.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said earlier Wednesday that the match would be dedicated to the efforts of players such as Alexander Yakushev, a double Olympic gold-winning hockey veteran who led the scoring for the Soviets in the series, in popularizing the sport.
The Summit Series was a series of eight matches played in Canada and Russia throughout September of 1972. The pulsating series, played at the height of the Cold War, went to a deciding game after three wins apiece and one draw. Henderson scored the dramatic winning goal past Vladislav Tretiak in the Soviet goal with half a minute remaining in the final period to win the match 6-5 and the series 4-3, in what went down as one of the Canada's greatest sporting moments.