Paul Henderson scored the game winning goals in game 6, game 7 and of course game 8 of the infamous 1972 Canada – Russia Summit Series. Henderson was actually one of the last players to make the team and was on fire throughout the entire series. He will be forever immortalized in hockey history as he scored on what is arguably the greatest hockey moment ever – Henderson’s game winner in game eight.
“In the final seconds of that game, I stood up at the bench and called Pete Mahovlich off the ice. I’d never done such a thing before,” wrote Henderson in Brian McFarlane’s book Team Canada 1972.
“I jumped on the and rushed straight for their net. I had this strange feeling that I could score the winning goal. I had a great chance just before I scored, but Cournoyer’s pass went behind me. Then I was tripped up and crashed into the boards behind the net. I leaped up and moved in front, just in time to see Esposito take a shot at Tretiak from inside the faceoff circle. The rebound came right to my stick and I tried to slide the puck past Tretiak. Damn! He got a piece of it. But a second rebound came right to me. This time I flipped the puck over him and into the net.” His goal in Game 8 came with only 34 seconds left in the contest and gave the Canadian squad a victory that was celebrated from coast to coast.
Although he couldn’t have comprehended it at that moment in time, he had just become an immortal in the hockey world. One has to wonder if he ever gets tired of talking about it, and for being known almost solely for the goal. “It’s a special memory and I honestly can’t think of anything better with which to be associated.”
In 2013 Henderson was recognized with the Order of Hockey in Canada by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. 2012 marked the 40th anniversary of Henderson’s spectacular series. Emotions still rise high in both Canadians and the players on the team. At the official celebrations in Ontario, Liam Maguire described the atmosphere: “When Paul (Henderson) scored, the hall erupted much like the country did 30 years ago.”