Cournoyer has it on that wing....here's a shot! Henderson made a wild stab for it and fell....here's another shot, right in front - they score!! Henderson...has scored for Canada! Henderson, right in front of the net. And the players on the team are going wild! Henderson, right in front, has scored the goal with 34 seconds left in the game....
Forty years ago today, Paul Henderson scored the biggest goal in the history of our nation. Do you remember where you were?
|The "enemy" - in cartoon form, no less|
But that's a story for another day.
|Team Canada lined up at the Forum|
|This Montreal headline says it all|
|Ecstatic fans at Maple Leaf Gardens, Game 2|
credit: Jeff Goode/Toronto Daily Star
"We're in a war now." I imagine that must sound like remarkable and hysterical hyperbole when viewed through the lens of the new millennium, but at the time you would have been hard-pressed to find anyone who would say differently. It's impossible to overstate the real animosity and distrust that people of Canada felt for the Soviet Union; clearly not on the same level as our neighbours to the south (and likely helped along by their propaganda) but rampant and deeply-ingrained nonetheless. But if Phil thought they were in a war in Vancouver, well...he hadn't seen anything yet.
|Espo's pratfall before Game Five|
|Thuggish Bobby Clarke slashes Valeri Kharlamov|
|Henderson's incredible solo effort to win Game Seven|
It also squared up the series at three wins apiece, with one game tied. The stage was set for an epic Game Eight showdown.
|Vladislav Tretiak, fan favourite in Montreal|
|J.P. Parise going insane|
|Canadian fans in Moscow|
"The moment we rescued Eagleson the doors at both ends of the rink smashed open. In marched the Red Army surrounding the entire rink. Taking our position back on the bench I turned to Cashman and said, 'Well, how do you feel about spending the rest of your life in Siberia?'" - Bill Goldsworthy
|The iconic photo, shot by Frank Lennon of the Star|
And our gym absolutely erupted.
|Team Canada 1972|
|Mario Lemieux wins the 1987 Canada Cup|
|Peter Mahovlich's great goal in 1972|
We were celebrating so much and here was this goaltender all left by himself, nobody around him, dejected and everything else. You know what? We were all competitors at that time and, you know, it was just a good Canadian thing to do.It was just a good Canadian thing to do. Yes, yes it was. What in the world could be more Canadian than fighting as hard as you can for as long as you can and then, at the end of it all, acknowledging the efforts of your foe? Gracious in victory as in defeat. That truly is the Canadian way, when you get right down to it.
I have one more treat to add here. Almost everyone will have heard the Foster Hewitt call many times in their lives, but the game was also covered on CBC Radio by a 39-year-old Bob Cole, still a year away from being "promoted" to calling games on television and longer still away from being the go-to announcer for the network. I've mocked Cole quite a bit in recent years, mainly because he is well past his prime and almost a parody of himself in his waning years. But in 1972 he was at the peak of his game and his call of the Henderson goal, while not iconic like Hewitt's, was nevertheless pretty darned good:
"Henderson has got to be the hero of the entire nation now." When you consider how many players and other officials of the team said they had no idea how big that goal was to our country, that remark from Cole was pretty astute at the time. And when Fred Sgambati follows up by noting that Henderson had scored the game-winning goal in the last three games of the series, he almost certainly became the first person to make that observation aloud. Taken all in all with the magnitude of the moment, I think the two men made a wonderful call that deserves to take its rightful place in the annals of Canadian hockey history.
So where were you in '72? Were you alive to see this "Heritage Moment"? Do you remember how you felt? Because I know I will never forget it.
I must acknowledge one fantastic site which I relied on heavily while researching this piece: 1972 Summit Series, run by a super-fan by the name of Joe Pelletier. There is a ton of great stuff about the series on that site, including actual newspaper clippings of the time. I urge you to check it out when you get a chance.
On Thursday of this week, TVO aired an edition of The Agenda with Steve Paikin which was entitled "The Goal That Changed Canada". I found it to be a fascinating watch and I wanted to be sure I mentioned (and linked to) it here for posterity.