I Had No One To Hug When The Goal Was Scored

 

It’s possibly the most important hockey item ever up for sale, and I’m thinking if I sell my house and live in a tent until I die, I can get in on the bidding war now going on at Classic Auctions, the Montreal-based hockey auction house that sends me their catalogue before every auction and I sit and drool and slobber and complain that life isn’t fair because I can’t have anything in the book.

 But I’m a realist and know I have to save my money if I’m going to buy the Habs.

The jersey, worn by Paul Henderson in the four games in Moscow during the 1972 Summit Series, including game 8 when he scored the winner with 34 seconds left, is now closing in on $100,000 and will be at least double that when the auction wraps up in slightly less than a month.

Will it sit in some rich guy’s rec room beside the dart board?  Or in  a safe, or an office somewhere? Or will the winning bidder loan it to the Hockey Hall of Fame so much poorer people like you and I can look at it?

When the series was on, I was a week or two shy of my 22nd birthday and working as a bartender in Sudbury at a busy Irish pub called Flannigan’s in the Holiday Inn. I saw all eight games, mostly by myself in my little apartment with a lousy old TV, although I was working during the game-four tilt in Vancouver. But it was on Flannigan’s TV so I saw most of it when I should have been doing other things, like working. 

But that game eight. Wow! Such stress. The Russians were going to claim series victory if it was tied because they’d scored more total goals, but as you all know, Henderson solved the problem. And when he did, I’m pretty sure I yelled and jumped and afterward sat exhausted, and in my lousy little apartment had no one to hug and raise a glass with.

What a thing to see this jersey now up for bids. But really, it should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame where it belongs. As for Henderson, he never had the numbers to be in the Hall, but maybe, because of his many heroics in that wonderful series, he should be.

I’ve also learned, from asking the question dozens of times over the years, that most people feel he doesn’t belong. I think, though, there should be a section reserved strictly for him.

5 thoughts on “I Had No One To Hug When The Goal Was Scored”

  1. I had to listen to the oversea games on a pocket radio with the ear piece up under my shirt and hidden by hair. I don’t know why we weren’t allowed to watch the games in school we just weren’t. Having said all that I agree Henderson should be in the Hall. I never really knew him as a player as I was just discovering the Habs back then but if the games and the goals had been in a Stanley Cup final and he was just a journeyman player he wouldn’t warrant consideration for the Hall. Who was that guy some years back that went on a play-off scoring tear with something like 17 goals and then disappeared? However to score the goals he did in that series deserves some kind of recognition and in Canada he certainly gets it. Maybe you have to create a special category for people who galvanized our country through unexpected but still heroic efforts and that would be the criteria. You could call it the Paul Henderson rule and immortilize him twice!

  2. Right on, DJ. Henderson scored three winning goals in that series. Maybe he wasn’t the Rocket ot Howe or Hull, bu he, like you say, “galvanized our country through unexpected but still heroic efforts.” Thanks for that. We’re very much on the same page.

  3. Anonymous selling to an anonymous buyer, disgraceful. Too bad there’s no rules like the Oscars where memorabilia can’t be sold but reverts back to Hockey Canada.

    Paul Henderson’s contributions over that 8 game series are more famous and integral to hockey history than those of most of the very deserving players in the HHoF. No need to pad statistics when you deliver when it matters. 7 goals, 3 consecutive game winners, and the climatic series clincher.

  4. I don’t think Henderson belongs in the Hall. But I do think he will live forever in hockey history unlike 90% of the guys who are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. And that is more impressive than induction.

    Joe

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