The 40th anniversary of the 1972 Canada-Russia Series is this month, and I'm not buying in.
The exhibition hockey series was considered a huge event in this country, our own personal moon landing, delivered live from Moscow in an Olympics-sized venture by the CBC and CTV.
It also netted Harold Ballard and hockey great Bobby Orr, who was advised at the time by Alan Eagleson, director of the National Hockey League Players Association, $1.2 million because they owned the television rights. Orr would have played, except for a knee injury, meaning he would have been starring in his own production.
Back then our flag was new, and never as prominent before, or perhaps after, as on the shirts of those players, and the coins designed by artist Alex Colville commemorating Canada's centennial were still shiny.
We were a young country suffering from wounds caused by the FLQ crisis, and went looking, it seems, for a common foe.
I was seven the year of the series, and I was yanked from class and plunked down in front of a TV screen with other students to watch it. There I was, consuming the spectacle brought to us by Eagleson and Ballard, both of whom were later convicted of fraud. The Russians were my enemy. I bought the hockey cards, the books and the mythology.
It was called Canada-Russia, but the Cyrillic CCCP on our opponents' jerseys did not spell Russia in any language. It was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Hockey Canada sold my identity to the NHL, to people who had more in common with Bernie Madoff than with Tony Esposito.
As most know, we were never "Canada" either. This was the NHL; its colours are black and orange, not red and white, and its logo an ugly crest, not a stylized maple leaf.
Canuck superstar Bobby Hull was playing for the Winnipeg Jets, so was not allowed to represent Team Canada. (An ad guy from Detroit coined the name.) The Jets, at the time, played in the WHA, and the NHL blocked rival companies, thus determining the roster.
Canada-Russia - did it even happen? It's now called the Summit Series, the narrative changing when corporations sold us boxed DVD sets a few years ago and we had figured geopolitics out a bit.
In all the hoopla surrounding the anniversary, perhaps we can remember the Czechoslovakians, who in 1972 beat the Soviets, in Prague, for the World Championship.
In a world where Hockey Night In Canada is still a political vehicle for stupidity, complete with a weekly dose of expensive Armed Forces ads, and where seven-year-old kids can still be fed myopic ideas of nationalism, someone should call bullshit.
What would I say to Paul Henderson, who shot the winning goal, now that his efforts in that series are once again cited as worthy of the Hall of Fame? Sure, whatever, you should be in the Hall, but, Paul, you're already on my money, dude. A 1997 silver dollar forever immortalized his participation in something called the Canada-USSR Series. Have we finally decided what to call this thing?