Henderson Has Scored For Canada!
Almost forty years ago I still remember sitting in the school gym at Holy Redeemer in Bay Ridges. Like every other school kid, we were let out of class to watch hockey. Game seven of the Summit Series. They set up two black and white TV's--you remember those big AV monstrosities with the primitive VCR on the bottom. They were set up underneath each basketball hoop, and we all grabbed a piece of floor and witnessed history.
When Henderson scored the now infamous goal the entire place erupted, from us snot nosed kids to the mean science teacher to the loner janitor. Even as a husky freckled faced kid with big ears, I knew that goal and that series was something special. Little did we all know that it would not only define a nation, but it would still be talked about forty years later.
Do you remember what really happened in 1972? Bobby Hull got black balled because he jumped to the WHA. A frustrated Phil Esposito crying at Canada after game four. Hadfield, Perreault and Martin bailed on the team because they weren't playing. There were rumours of KGB room bugging, referees Josef Kompala and Franz Baader, and an irate Alan Eagleson's embarrasing antics.
And Canada had it's goonish moments. Like J.P. Parisi wanting to take Kompala's head off with his stick, or Clarke's slash on Kharlamov. But the intense pressure from the media and the country was massive. We were expected to win every game of this series, and blow the Russians back to Siberia. And while Paul Henderson is one of our hockey heroes with those three game winning goals in a row, he was simply in the right place at the right time. Should he be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame? In a word, no.