“Within two years I think the Russians will have a team over here playing our professional hockey teams. And maybe within 5 years you will be watching a Stanley Cup series between Russia and an NHL team. Can you imagine what interest there would be in a series like that?
There would be probably 300 million people watching on TV all over the world. The Super Bowl in football would be a minor thing in comparison to this. Next to soccer, it would be the biggest thing in international sports.
The Russians would love to play us some exhibitions, even this year, just to see how they could do against us, but I don’t think that’s the answer.
Suppose we played one game and beat the daylights out of them? They might go into a shell and not play us again for 10 years.
I think it would be better if they formed their own pro leagues in Europe. There would be teams from say Moscow, Stockholm, Prague, Vienna, Berlin and perhaps London. Then eventually–it could be within a year or two–they could come here and we could go there and each take a run through the other’s league.
Within four or five years, I think they’d be competitive. The Russians have been playing hockey for about 20 years and have developed a skill that is just unbelieveable.”
-Los Angeles Kings General Manager Larry Regan, September 1968