The story of Pierre Plouffe, the lone Canadian arrested at the Summit Series in Moscow

Pierre Plouffe, 73, dislocated his elbow. His left arm got tangled in the rope when he was water-skiing this summer, and it seemed to twist, tweak or tear every internal mechanism with an anatomical name: “It was floating like a rag.”

He pulled his arm from the water, went to the hospital and was, only about 10 days later, speaking to a reporter from a lake in southwestern France. Plouffe owns and operates a watersport rental company in Mont-Tremblant, Que. — Centre Nautique Pierre Plouffe — but the injury limited his ability to work.

“I can’t lift a glass of water,” he said with a laugh. “So I’m going to try to lift a glass of wine.”

He was originally going to compete at the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation world over-35 championships in Baurech, near Bordeaux, but he was now settling in for a little coaching and a lot of fun. His trip happened to fall near the 50th anniversary of a more famous overseas adventure, where Plouffe had also set out to have fun, but instead earned a life-long Cold War distinction.

In September 1972, he was the only Canadian arrested in Moscow during the Summit Series.

He was among the 3,000 Canadian fans in town for the final four games of the eight-game showdown, where the best Canadian professional players faced the best Soviets for the first time. He arrived with a bugle, a Canadian flag on a hockey stick and the bravado of a 23-year-old athlete.

“It’s funny,” said Plouffe. “I’ve been asked many times: ‘People have asked you about this Series more than they have asked you about your world titles in waterski.


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