– Krefeld, West Germany
When the 1955 IIHF World Championship started in West Germany in late February of that year, the Penticton Vees, Canada's representatives, were expected not just to win gold but to restore pride to a nation that had been humiliated on the international stage the previous year for the first time in 35 years of participation. It was in 1954 that the Soviets played in their first IIHF World Championship, and claimed the gold medal ahead of the Canadians with a 7-2 win on the final day.
Canada had a year to wait for revenge, but the Soviets were not a team to give in easily, and the Vees knew their task was a huge one. As the tournament progressed, the games went according to form: for every Canadian win, the Soviets also won. It became obvious that the last game of the tournament, between the two nations, would again determine the world champion.
Yet on that final night in Krefeld the Canadians did, indeed, reclaim what they felt was rightfully theirs, hammering the Soviets 5-0. Ivan McLelland got the shutout, and the team was led by the three Warwick brothers – Grant, Bill, and Dick. The game established once and for all a rivalry that has produced many of international hockey's greatest moments. Canada vs. Soviet Union – it doesn't get much better today, and it didn't get any better half a century ago, either.
As part of the IIHF's 100th anniversary celebrations, IIHF.com is featuring the 100 Top International Hockey Stories from the past century (1908-2008). Continuing through the 2008 IIHF World Championships in Quebec City & Halifax, from May 2 – 18, the IIHF will post approximately three stories a week counting down from Number 100 to 1.
The Top-10 Countdown will be one of the highlights of the IIHF’s Centennial Gala evening in Quebec City on May 17, the day prior to the gold medal game of the 2008 IIHF World Championship. The evening will culminate with the announcement of the Top Story of the Century.