08:15 GMT +318 January 2019
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    Puck Politics: Russian Diplomats Beat Canadian Team in Friendly Hockey Match

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    Russia's Red Machine diplomatic hockey team beat their Canadian opponents the Commandos 4:1 in a match dedicated to the 1972 Summit Series.

    The match took place on Diplomats' Day, a professional holiday in Russia. It was held at Ottawa's Jim Durrell Recreation Centre Friday, with some 400 fans coming out to cheer on the teams.

    Russian Ambassador to Canada Alexander Darchiev said it was his "deep belief" that hockey, born in Canada and successfully adopted in Russia, "could and should be an indispensable pillar of bilateral diplomacy."

    The ambassador stressed that even though Russia and Canada are forever destined "to be perpetual rivals on ice," they are also meant to stay "comrades" as two northern nations. 

    The official Twitter account of members of Team Canada's 1972 team congratulated the Russian team. The account of the Russian Embassy in Ottawa did the same.

    Friday's match was the second of a friendly amateur mini-series between the two countries, the first game of which took place in September, where the Canadians won 4:2.

    Scott Taylor, editor of Esprit de Corps magazine and right winger for the Commandos, said that these games "remind us that despite the diplomatic saber rattling taking place [in relations between Russia and Canada], Canadians and Russians are equally found of hockey. The very possibility of recreating the spirit of the 72 Summit Series serves as a reminder that even in the midst of the Cold War, with the help of hockey, we were able to overcome our political differences."

    The 1972 Summit Series between the USSR and Canada was held in September 1972. After seven matches, one of which ended in a draw, the teams were tied 3:3. The last match, taking place September 28, ended with a score of 6:5 for Canada, securing their victory in the series. Two years later, in 1974, the Soviets came back to defeat the Canadians.


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