Great Canadian teams

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

Paul Henderson scored a goal at the Winnipeg Arena on Sept. 6, 1972, when Canada and the Soviets battled to a 4-4 tie in Game 3 of the Summit Series.

The goal he remembers most from that night, however, is the one he didn't score.

Henderson can't remember exactly when Vladislav Tretiak stoned him, but he knows Canada was leading and, had he scored, it would have put the Soviets "out of their misery," he said.

"Somebody threw it to me in the slot and I didn't get as much good wood on it as I wanted to, but Tretiak made a good save, too. You can't take that away from him."

Game 3 of the Summit Series, which evened the eight-game international affair at 1-1-1, was the highlight of five decades of international hockey at the Arena.

There was somewhat of a negative undertone to the contest because Bobby Hull, who three months earlier had signed his famous WHA contract at Portage and Main to play for the Jets, wasn't invited to participate.

Even Henderson, who went on to score the most famous goal in hockey history, has a Hull story from that night.

'WARM WELCOME'

"One of the memories I have is Bobby Hull sitting right up on the top row, and I remember looking up and seeing him there and waving to him," Henderson said. "It was one of those times where you just made eye contact and a memory was made.

"I remember the fans were so into it, but Winnipeg fans were really, really into their hockey, and they certainly gave us a warm welcome."

On the ice, Canada had a 4-2 lead in the second period, but the Soviets' Kid Line, featuring Yuri Lebedev, Alex Bodunov and Viacheslav Anisin, struck twice before the end of the second period to wrap up the scoring.

"That's when we found out that goodness gracious me, they got enough talent there to sink a battle ship," Henderson said, "and it was very unnerving.

"... We played as well as they did in Winnipeg, and it was a pretty entertaining hockey game."

J.P. Parise, Jean Ratelle and Phil Esposito also scored for Canada.

The Arena continued to be an international hockey hotbed for most of the 1970s and the early part of the '80s.

The Old Barn hosted world junior championships in 1975 and 1999, along with a few exhibition games in late 1981.

In '75, the Soviets won gold and Canada took home silver. That finishing order was duplicated 24 years later when Russia's Artem Chubarov beat Canadian netminder Roberto Luongo in overtime on Jan. 5, 1999, in front of 12,992 disappointed fans.

The Arena was also the site of several Canada Cup games. More than 8,000 showed up in 1976 to watch then-Winnipeg Jets Anders Hedberg, Ulf Nilsson and Willy Lindstrom, at that time playing for the WHA's Winnipeg Jets, suit up for Sweden against Finland in the lone round-robin game Winnipeg got. Finland won 8-6.

Winnipeg played a primary role in hosting the 1981 Canada Cup, which featured, among others, Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy, Sergei Makarov, Vladislav Tretiak and Viacheslav Fetisov. The Arena hosted five round-robin games that September, including Canada's 4-4 tie with Czechoslovakia.

The WHA and NHL versions of the Jets didn't shy away from international competition during their days on Maroons Road, either. Exhibition games in the '70s against Czechoslovakia, Finland and the Soviets attracted large crowds.

In one of the more memorable games, viewed by 10,315 spectators on Jan. 5, 1978, Bobby Hull fired a hat trick and Nilsson added two goals and two assists as the Jets beat a star-studded Soviet squad 5-3.


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