"We were having a rough time in Moscow with the lousy hotels, phone calls to the players' rooms in the middle of the night, the Russians snatching much of the food we had sent over for the team, especially the steaks and beer, and the terrible officiating by the European officials. But a long cheer at the end of the first game in Moscow by the Canadian fans was a big lift for our spirits."

Harry Sinden


Harry Sinden (born 1932),
Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builder category in 1983.
Player's Career:
- Was a distinguished amateur hockey player
- Played as a defenseman for the Whitby Dunlops
- WC Gold in 1958
- Olympics Silver in 1960
- As a playing-coach of the Oklahoma City Blazers, won eight straight playoff to receive the Jack Adams Trophy as CPHL champions.
Coaching and Management Career:
- Boston Bruins Head Coach in 1966-1970, 1979-1980, 1984-1985
- Coached the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 1970
- NHL Coaching Record includes 153W-116L-58T in the regular seasons and 24W-19L in the playoffs
- Boston Bruins General Manager in 1972-2000
- Currently, serves as the Bruins' President


I might be a little biased about Harry SINDEN. I live in Boston. I love my town and I love hockey. Think about hockey in Boston and you simply can't miss Harry Sinden. Love him or hate him, but he is a living legend of the Bruins. His experience as a world-class amateur player, elite NHL coach and outstanding GM arguably makes him a unique personality in the history of the game.

Back in 1972, I was just a little kid in Moscow and knew very little about Sinden. I didn't know that, as a top amateur defensemen of the 1950s. Sinden won the Allan Cup'57, the World Championship'58 Gold Medal and the Olympics'60 Silver Medal. Prior to the NHL expansion of 1967, the waiting list for the Original Six rosters was too long for a relatively small-sized and slow feet defenseman by the NHL standards. Sinden chose to become a player-coach of the Bruins' farm clubs. Later, he was appointed as the Bruins' head coach. In the season of 1969-70, Sinden brought the "Big Bad Bruins" to their first Stanley Cup in 29 years.

In 1972, Harry Sinden was the first NHL coach that I saw in action. The man behind the Team Canada'72 bench looked quiet different from a "typical" Soviet coach of that time. Most elite Russian coaches looked older and much less emotional than Sinden. Call it a cultural difference, but most coaches in Russia preferred not to show their emotions publicly. I guess it was considered a bad manner for the team spirit. Compared to Sinden, even major fits thrown by flamboyant Tarasov looked like a subtle diplomatic behavior. Sinden didn't hide his emotions. In fact, he looked like a catalyst of team emotions pumping energy into his players. For a man without a hockey stick and skates, he seemed to be more in the game than some of his players.

The story tells that Sinden got his head coach job because of his experience and knowledge of international hockey. I don't know if it was really the key factor, but the truth is that the Soviet hockey of the 1950s and the 1970s were two completely different stories. In addition, due to the misguiding scouts' report on Team USSR prior to the Series, Sinden and his players had to face a totally mysterious Soviet team with unknown skills and unpronounceable players' last names. It seems to me what really made the difference was Sinden's coaching talent to manage the all stars material. His ability to motivate the elite players, to create a special chemistry between the top-notch NHLers was shown in his work with the Bruins. In 1972, Sinden's talent shined to the peak of his coaching career.

Team Canada of 1972 is considered one of the classiest teams in hockey history. Harry Sinden brought his team to one of the most unforgettable victories. By many accounts, he definitely belongs to the list of the classiest NHL coaches.

Note: Special thanks to Pat Houda, Joe Pelletier, Bill Underwood and Craig Wallace for their contribution and opinions in preparation of this article.