History of the National Hockey League/1967–1992/Summit Series/Legacy

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The series forced the NHL and the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association to reassess all aspects of how the game was played in North America. Journalist Herb Pinder described the NHL to that point in this way: "The Europeans took our game and evolved it, while we stood still or even went backwards. The Russians had a style, and the Czechs' style was different from that ... There was this hockey world evolving through international competition, and we're back here, stuck, just playing ourselves. It was a business monopoly. And like any monopoly, the NHL got stagnant." Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Canadian hockey encouraged the adoption of new coaching and training methods used in Europe, and emphasized conditioning and skills development.

In 1975, Soviet club teams began to tour North America in the first Super Series. The Canadiens played Central Red Army to a 3–3 draw on New Year's Eve 1975, in a game that is considered one of the finest ever played. Red Army lost only one of four games against the NHL in the first tour, a 4–1 defeat to Philadelphia, who intimidated them as the Flyers did to their NHL opponents. At one point, Red Army threatened to forfeit the game after Ed Van Impe decked Valery Kharlamov. Red Army was persuaded to complete the game after Alan Eagleson threatened to withhold their appearance fee if the team did not return to the ice. Super Series games continued until 1991, when Soviet players were allowed to enter the NHL after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The NHL took a greater interest in international play. The Canada Cup, a tournament that featured the top professional players in the world, was held first in 1976, and then four more times until 1991. It was succeeded by the World Cup of Hockey in 1996. Beginning in 1975, Soviet club teams began touring North America, playing NHL clubs in exhibition games that were known as the Super Series. The Calgary Flames and Washington Capitals similarly toured the Soviet Union in 1989 in the first "Friendship Series". The Soviet national team defeated an NHL all-star team in a 1979 challenge series, two games to one, and won Rendez-vous '87, a two-game series held in Quebec City, on aggregate score 8-7.