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CIC Victoria: Ice War Diplomat
December 8, 2022 @ 11:30 am - 2:00 pm PST
Thursday, 8 December from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm at the Union Club.
Ice War Diplomat with former Ambassador Gary J. Smith. Hockey has been a diplomatic bridge between Canada and Russia dating back fifty years to the storied Summit Series of 1972. At that time, and following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau used hockey as a form of common ground with the Soviet Union to reduce the risk of conventional and nuclear war. Forty-five years later President Putin himself embraced that series and told players from Team Canada in 2017 that “the series had improved relations with Canada and he would like to follow up on it.” Join us as former Ambassador and author, Gary J. Smith, takes us back to 1971 and Moscow, where, as a young Canadian diplomat he opted for sports diplomacy, throwing off his embassy black tie dress code and donning the blue and white sweater of the Moscow Maple Leafs. And, soon after, becoming instrumental in making the 1972 Canada-Soviet Hockey Series happen and keeping it from falling apart! Indeed, the Canada-Soviet Hockey Series has since gone down in history as a pivotal political event, changing the course of two nations…that is, as Gary will discuss, until Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Please note that due to the speakers availability our UC lunch is on Thursday this month.
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