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World Seniors'

Worldly Customs
Before every international match in Europe it is traditional for the members of the two teams to exchange gifts and shake hands. In addition, the captain of each team normally shakes hands with the referee and linesmen before and after each game. It is also customary at the end of the game for the players of each team to line up first facing the fans at one side of the rink, then the other, and salute them by raising their hockey sticks.

Hole In One
First-time visitors to Gjovik, Norway may have a hard time locating the town's ice arena. The rock-encased Olympic Cavern Hall is carved into a mountain. The 5,500-seat arena was the second venue for ice hockey during the 1994 Olympics and the site of several exciting matches. Included among these was Canada's 3-2 overtime victory against the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals and the Canadians' 5-3 triumph over previously undefeated Finland in the semifinals. The cavern was cleared by excavating 3.5 million square feet of rock. It took eight months to clear out the space. The repeated blasting led the homeowners to demand more money from the excavators, whom they alleged were taking away their land. But a judge ruled that the land underneath a home is only the height of the house reversed.

Home-Ice Advantage
On the opening day of the 1976 tourney the host Poles stunned the Soviet Union by a 6-4 count. The result sent shock waves through the venues of international sports media, who kept calling Poland to see if there had been a mistake in reporting. The loss was a harbinger of things to come for the Soviets. They also lost 4-3 to Sweden, gained only a 3-3 draw in two outings against Czechoslovakia and settled for the silver medal, a full six points behind the Czechoslovaks in the standings.

Scoring Machine
Soviet Vladimir Petrov holds the record for most points in one tournament. He recorded 34 points on 18 goals and 16 assists in 1973.

During the Soviet Union's long run of World Championship gold medals in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the entire team made a habit of visiting the Blue Room of the newspaper Komsomalskaya Pravda before leaving Moscow for the tournament. They considered it a good luck charm. There they observed the old Russian custom of 'sitting before going'.The players also chatted with journalists, were presented with flowers and sourvenirs and had their picture taken in front of the building. On one occasion, just before the 1972 World Championship in Prague, the team did not make the visit either because it lacked time or its new coaches Vsevolod Bobrov and Boris Kulagin were not aware of the tradition. Czechoslovakia defeated the Soviets 3-2 to win the gold medal lending strength to the importance of this custom.

One For All And All For One
To remain in contention for the gold medal at the 1991 World Championship, Canada needed to beat the United States by five goals on the second last day of competition. The Americans, on the other hand, needed a win by any margin to stay in the hunt for the bronze medal. With the Canadians leading 7-4, U.S. coach Tim Taylor pulled goalie John Vanbiesbrouck in the final minute in an attempt to win the game. But Canada made it 8-4 when Steve Larmer fired the puck almost the length of the ice into the empty net and Jamie Macoun made it 9-4 with one second left in the game, giving the Canadians the five-goal margin of victory they needed. Both the Swedes and Soviets were livid that Taylor would pull his goalie when he needed to score four goals in less than one minute. In the end it didn't matter since Sweden upset the Soviets 2-1 to win the gold medal outright. Ironically, before the tournament started the IIHF had approved a new format for the 1992 world tournament in Prague. For the first time there would be playoffs and sudden-death games for both the bronze and gold medals.

Fit To Be Tied
Following the elimination of Edmonton, Montreal and Philadelphia in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Canada iced one of the strongest entries ever in world tournament history. Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Clarke, Bob Gainey, Mike Gartner, Darryl Sittler and Bill Barber were in the lineup when Canada skated out on to the ice to face Italy, one of the tournament longshots. Journalists were forecasting that Canada would score 20 goals. But at least two Canadians had other ideas. Dave Chambers, who was coaching the Italian team, devised a defensive system that confused the NHL stars and Jim Corsi, a product of Montreal's Concordia University, was a magician in goal. The result was a shocking 3-3 tie. Canada outshot Italy 55-25 but the Italians scored two shorthanded goals. Although Italy placed seventh in the tournament, Corsi made the second all-star team. The point lost by Canada was a major factor in its bringing home only a bronze medal, rather than a gold or silver which was truly within its reach.

The Great Debate
There have been many accusations about teams not trying over the years, but none so strong as at the 1982 World Championship in Finland. With Wayne Gretzky, Bill Barber, Mike Gartner, Darryl Sittler, Bobby Clarke and Bob Gainey all available, Canada iced one of its strongest teams in history and was still in good position to win a silver medal, even though the Soviet Union had defeated them 6-4 to clinch the gold. But Canada needed help from the Soviets, in the form of a victory over Czechoslovakia. The Soviets had by far the better talent, but when these two arch-rivals met, the game wound up in a 0-0 tie. The point gained by the Czechoslovaks clinched a silver medal for them and relegated Canada to bronze. Journalists covering the game charged that the Soviets did not put out their best effort, so that both the gold and silver medals would go to Eastern Bloc countries. One even suggested that Soviet star Sergei Makarov had a clear-cut breakaway and circled back to his own end. The Canadian players went home furious and convinced they were cheated out of the silver medal.

Undefeated Silver
Only once before had a team gone through an entire World Championship tournament undefeated but had not won the gold medal. The Soviet Union's 1987 national team joined the 1948 Czechoslovak side in that undistinguished category by posting an 8-0-2 record at the world tournament in Vienna and going home with only a silver medal. Clearly the class of the eight-team field in the preliminary round, the Soviets won all seven games, outscoring their opposition by a total of 48-12. Under a new tournament format, adopted four years earlier, the top four teams advanced to the medal round, but with no points gained in the preliminary round carrying forward. The USSR was held to a scoreless draw by Canada courtesy of the goal keeping heroics of Sean Burke and the defensive game plan of coach Dave King. Against Sweden, the Soviets managed only a 2-2 tie. On the final day of action, the Swedes humiliated Canada 9-0 in the first half of the doubleheader to clinch the gold medal. In the second match, the Soviets edged the Czechoslovaks 2-1 to ensure themselves of the silver medal.

How About A Shootout?
The first team to go through an entire tournament at the Worlds/Olympics undefeated and fail to win the gold medal was Czechoslovakia in 1948 (the Soviet Union also accomplished this dubious mark at the 1987 Worlds). At the '48 Games, both Canada and Czechoslovakia finished with records of six wins and one tie in seven matches. The two teams tied 0-0 in their only meeting. Canada was declared the gold medal winner on the basis of a better goal differential.

Crown Prince
Soviet forward Anatoli Firsov holds the record for most scoring crowns (4) since 1956. He was the leading scorer in 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1971.

Czechoslovakia's Jiri Holik and Sweden's Sven Tumba have appeared in the most number of tournaments, with 14 each.

Star Shower
Sergei Makarov and Viacheslav Fetisov were each selected to the all-star team a record eight consecutive times. Makarov accomplished this feat between 1979-89 while Fetisov ran his streak from 1982-91.

Golden Tie
Sweden won the 1991 crown despite tying five of their 10 games.

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