Listen in, Michigan

Episode 53: The Greatest Comeback, Featuring John U. Bacon, BA '86/MA '94

Episode Summary

How Team Canada fought back, took the Summit Series, and reinvented hockey When prolific author and Michigan Today contributor John U. Bacon, BA '86/MA '94, pitched me on his new book about the 1972 Summit Series, I had no idea what he was talking about. But after a few sentences, delivered with Bacon's characteristic ebullience, I was in. This episode is just a little morsel that teases Bacon's latest sports tale, "The Greatest Comeback" (Harper Collins, 2022), a chronicle of the "most unforgettable matchup in hockey history." It was September 1972, and Cold War tensions were off the charts. What better time for an unprecedented eight-game hockey series between Canada and the national team of the Soviet Union? Team Canada, flush with its country’s best players — all NHL stars, half of them future Hall of Famers -- was expected to sweep the series. But five games in, the team had mustered only one win. With just three games left, Team Canada had to win the last three in Moscow. (Spoiler alert: They did.) The Summit players asked Bacon to tell their story and he spoke to almost every living member of the team. He says the series was an experience so unforgettable that each player considers those eight games to be the highlight of their storied careers. And, as with all unforgettable stories, the University of Michigan had a part to play. Red Berenson, BBA ’62/MBA ’66, U-M hockey coach for 33 seasons, not only played on the team, he's naturally one of Bacon's best sources.

Episode Notes

John U. Bacon at