SYNOPSIS

Twelve year old Adam Francis lives in Stoney Creek, a growing town next to Hamilton, Ontario. His parents are British, having emigrated from England in 1959. Mr. Francis is the manager of a small steel fabricating facility, she the receptionist in the local optometrist. He’s also a die-hard soccer fan who looks at hockey with great disdain, despite it being the national sport of his adopted country. Towards the end of August in 1972, Luc Carrivée and his single-parent father move from Quebec to Adam’s neighbourhood.

A fish-out-of-water, Adam is a reader, a thinker, a loner by nature. He’s never really fit in with the neighbourhood kids, or his schoolmates for that matter, especially when it comes to athletics. As a transplant from La Belle Province, Luc doesn’t quite fit in, either. But from the time they meet, they share a connection. It all begins with Adam giving Luc the gift of an Esso Power Players stickers album, something he had previously compiled to try to be accepted by the other kids. From here, a bond is forged, created by the Canada-USSR Summit series that’s about to unfold. Luc and his father take on the roles of guides, introducing him to the sport, bringing him up to speed as this momentous event approaches. Naturally, this development does not sit well with his father.

Our story follows two distinct paths. The first is the up-and-down adventures of the trio over the Series’ eight games. From the heart-wrenching initial quartet played in Canada, to Adam’s idea of sending supportive telegrams to Team Canada in Moscow, right up to the winning goal by Paul Henderson in the final seconds of the series. It’s the first time Adam has felt impassioned about something outside of his books, and it charms his mother to see him so engaged, so excited. Belonging. The second is the unexpected journey Mr. Francis ends up taking regarding the sport; he goes from being a decided naysayer to being truly supportive of his son’s newfound interest as well as those of his stalwart employees at work.

The tale culminates in the overwhelming ecstasy after all the preceding agony affecting each and every one of the characters, from Adam and Luc all the way to their neighbourhood, the school, community and beyond.

Forty years on, Luc’s daughter Zoë visits the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto where Adam is now the General Manager. Adam regales the teen with his account, filling in the blanks of Luc’s version. At the end of the visit, Zoë presents Adam with her late father’s French copy of the Esso Power Players album.

‘The ’72 Series: A Canadian Tale’ is a personal take on an interlude that has a special place in the grand cultural tapestry that is Canada’s.

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