The ice hockey rivalry between Canada and the USSR, one of the biggest sporting rivalries in the world, is to be the subject of a limited documentary series.

“72” (working title), will focus on The Summit Series, a pivotal set of eight games played between the two nations in 1972 in Canada and Russia where political rivalry equalled the on-field competition. The tournament was rife with allegations of dirty play and disputes over officiating. In Canada, the games were set against a backdrop of a home-grown terrorist movement that had turned violent, while KGB agents and Soviet soldiers sat in the stands for the games in Moscow.

Canadian production companies Connect3 Media (“Mirage”) and Yap Films (“The Lost Unabomber Tapes”) are partnering with Russian producer 1-2-3 Production (“To the Lake”) to co-develop the series, which aims to provide the definitive history of the event. Dan Diamond, who has written more than a dozen books in conjunction with NHL teams and was named in The Hockey News’ inaugural list of 100 People of Power and Influence in Hockey, is attached as an executive producer.

Igor Kuperman, former assistant general manager for the Russian Olympic hockey team and the first European to work for an NHL team’s front office, also serves as an executive producer.

Pablo Salzman, president of Connect3 Media, said: “The incredible personal stories, strong characters and physical drama of the 72 Series set against the geo-political environment where cold-war rivals tried everything to gain the upper hand will give this series huge global appeal, even in those parts of the world where ice hockey isn’t the most popular sport.”

Elliott Halpern, president of Yap Films, added: “A whole new generation of Canadians who have only heard about the Summit Series in passing are going to be fascinated by ‘Seventy-Two,’ which brings together the key players and experts to tell the whole incredible story for the first time.”

Nelly Yaralova, general producer for 1-2-3 Productions, said: “We are thrilled to be bringing together producers from Canada and Russia and the perspectives of key insiders on both sides of the Summit Series to reveal the definitive history of why this showdown mattered so much and has left an imprint on the sport that’s visible to this day.”