The Ultimate Canadian Hockey Hero

What more can be said about Paul Henderson's heroics that has not been said time and time again? 

He scored the game winning goals in game 6, game 7 and of course game 8. And he will be forever immortalized in hockey history as he scored on what is arguably the greatest hockey moment ever.

Henderson was actually one of the last players to make the team. He had a terrific training camp along with Bobby Clarke and Ron Ellis. All three were on the bubble as to whether or not they'd make the team or not, but they played extremely well together. They were Canada's best threesome, and the only line that was kept together throughout the series.

All three were incredible. Clarke was instrumental with his defensive play and his crisp playmaking, which in particular helped Henderson. Ellis did a masterful job of shutting down the flashy Valeri Kharlamov and was also used against the big Alexander Yakushev.

And then there was Henderson. Henderson was on fire throughout the entire series. He tied with Phil Esposito and Alexander Yakushev for the goal scoring lead with 7.  He was especially hot in Moscow - he scored twice in game 5 and scored the game winners in game 6 and game 7.

The game 7 goal was spectacular. With less than three minutes left to play, Henderson was sprung lose thanks to a nice pass from Serge Savard. Henderson was in alone on two Soviet defenseman - normally an impossible scoring chance. Going in alone on two Russian defenders, he crossed so that the two defensemen were forced to cross positions. Henderson slid the puck through the defenseman's legs and went around. Instead of playing the man, defenseman Evgeny Tsygankov tried to play the puck. He failed to stop the puck and Henderson was in alone. He scored just under the cross bar while falling down, as the defenders tackled him.

And of course there is the most famous goal in hockey history: 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: Where Are They Now?, and undoubtedly told over a million times elsewhere. 

"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."

Although he couldn't have comprehended it at that moment in time, he had just become an immortal in the hockey world.

"I talk about the goal at least 300 days a year," he says.

One has to wonder if he ever gets tired of talking about it, and for being known almost solely for the goal.

"At first, I got sick of talking about it for a while, the first three or four months. There was absolutely no privacy. It got to be a bit of a pain. But I don't feel that way now. It's a special  memory and I honestly can't think of anything better with which to be associated," Henderson was quoted in Scott Morrison's book The Days Canada Stood Still.

Paul Henderson Interview In Dressing Room After Game Eight - CBC Radio (1:39) 

1972 Summit Player Profile
 Team Canada
 #19 - Paul Henderson - Left Wing

Position: LW
Shoots: Right
Height: 5-11
Weight: 180
Born: 1/28/1943 Kincardine, Ontario
1972 NHL Team: Toronto Maple Leafs

Summit Series Statistics

8 7 3 10 4 28 38 6

Other Team Canada Appearances - 

Henderson had jumped to the WHA by 1974, just in time to return to Russia in the WHA's copycat tournament known as the 1974 Summit Series. Henderson was unable to recapture the magic, scoring 2 goals and 3 points in 7 games as Canada won only one game.

NHL Career Notes - A solid but unspectacular winger in his career, Henderson never really came close to achieving the same success in the NHL as he did with Team Canada.

The speedy winger played with Detroit and Toronto from 1963 through 1974 before jumping to the WHA. He made a brief NHL retunr with Atlanta in 1979-80.

Career NHL Statistics
  GP G A Pts PIM
Regular Season 707 236 241 477 304
NHL Playoffs  56 11 14 25 28


Book Feature
Read Paul Henderson's memories of the Summit Series in Team Canada 1972: Where Are They Now?  By Brian McFarlane $21.26 Cdn


Special Offers

1972 Summit Series Games

Game One 
Game Two 
Game Three 
Game Four 
Game Five 
Game Six 
Game Seven 
Game Eight

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Canada's Team of the Century