Ah, the power of a smile.
In a recent conversation, former Gov. Wendy Anderson recalled a 1955 World Hockey Championship game against the Soviet Union.
What he still remembers most about that game is the smile on the face of the Soviet’s star player, Vsevolod Bobrov.
Late in the game, Anderson had been sent to the penalty box. As he waited for the penalty to expire, Bobrov, who was directly in front of the penalty box, knocked down one of Anderson’s U.S. teammates.
Anderson leaped into action. He left the penalty box and jumped on Bobrov’s back.
So how’d that work out?
“What I remember is Bobrov’s smile,’’ recalled Anderson more than a half-century later. “He was smiling for three reasons. I didn’t hurt him. I was thrown out of the game. And they were beating us.’’
In fact, the Soviet Union did defeat the U.S., 3-0, in that tournament game, which was played in Krefeld, West Germany.
(The U.S. finished fourth in that tournament, won by Canada. The Soviets finished second.)
Years later, when Anderson was governor, Bobrov was coach of a Soviet team that was making an appearance in Minnesota.
“Bobrov came to my office and I was telling him about the fight,” Anderson said.
“He said, ‘I don’t recall it,’’’ said Anderson, laughing. “Can you believe it? The son-of-a-gun got me again.’’