August 29, 2012
Ex-players to celebrate Summit Series' 40th anniversary
By IAN SHANTZ, QMI Agency
Fourty years later, the goal heard around the world has not been silenced.
In fact, the Summit Series stands to gain a commemorative decibel or two next month, with a slate of special events planned to coincide with the 40th anniversary of one of Canada’s watershed moments.
When Paul Henderson beat Vladislav Tretiak with 36 seconds left, scoring what is often referred to as the most memorable hockey moment in this nation’s history, he capped a miraculous Game 8 win over the Soviets in the famed 1972 series and set off an unprecedented wave of national pride.
The memory will not only be relived, but retraced, as well, as 16 members of the ’72 squad will return to Moscow — many for the first time since that goal — over a seven-day tour beginning Friday.
An anniversary gala dinner on Sept. 28, exactly 40 years after the red light when on and Henderson became a national hero, and a team induction ceremony into Canada’s Walk of Fame on Sept. 22 also will highlight the legacy.
A news conference was held on Wednesday at the just-opened Mattamy Athletic Centre, located in the former Maple Leafs Gardens where Game 2 of the Summit Series took place and where the team trained, to launch the month-long anniversary celebration.
Series teammates Ron Ellis, an ex-Leaf, Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne and ex-Blackhawks great Bill White were all on hand to share in the excitement of a moment that has resonated with so many Canadians, for so many reasons.
“That’s what’s so wonderful about it, how it has remained alive and so important to Canadians,” said Ellis, who will make his first return to Russia since the series.
“It was an extremely important time for Canada. It brought us together coast to coast. There were no Great Lakes, there were no Rocky Mountains. One nation under one flag.”
Ellis was on the bench when Henderson buried the magical winner and in a short speech on Wednesday he joked of his influence on the goal.
“I stepped back when (Henderson) went over the boards,” he said. “I didn’t want him to trip. Imagine if he caught his skate in my sweater.”
That never happened, but the end of tremendous series full of sporting and political strife did, and in Canada’s favour.
“I jumped on the pile in the corner,” said Ellis, a Stanley Cup winner with the Leafs now works for the Hockey Hall of Fame. “There was a chant that I’ll never forget: ‘We did it. We did it. We did it.’”
And everyone not living under a rock remembers where they were and what they were doing at that very moment.
“You start talking to someone who was 10 years old (at the time). They do remember,” Dionne said. “‘I was with my dad, I was with my grandmother.’ That’s what it’s all about. Great events that last forever.
“To bring it back in this fashion today, this is awesome.”
The month-long celebration is being organized by Heritage Hockey
In Russia, ’72 team members will meet with former Soviet players, visit the Kremlin, commemorate the Team Lokomotiv players killed in a tragic plane crash last year and take in a special game between Russian and Canadian legends.
NO HALL FOR HENDERSON
Despite the fact he scored what is arguably the biggest goal the sport of hockey has been witness to in Canada, Paul Henderson has yet to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Outside of his contributions to the ’72 series, Henderson did not exactly compile Hall of Fame-type statistics throughout his lengthy NHL career.
So the debate lives on. Should he or shouldn’t he be in the Hall of Fame. A reporter’s question directed as ex-NHLers Bill White, Ron Ellis and Marcel Dionne re-ignited the debate.
“I certainly believe that Paul Henderson should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame and I’m hoping the selection committee will (re-address) that in the very near future,” said Ellis, who works at the Hall of Fame.
“Paul’s a national hero. I think he should be immortalized there,” White said.
“He was not a great player, he was a very great good player,” said Dionne, adding Henderson’s ambassador role has been very valuable.
“If they find some room for somebody else, why not Paul Henderson?”
The following are some of the more famous quotes to come out of the 1972 Summit Series:
“Here’s a shot. Henderson makes a wild stab for it and falls. Here’s another shot. Right in front. They score! Henderson has scored for Canada!” — Foster Hewitt’s playcall
“This is really life and death here.” — Foster Hewitt
“In a war, you do whatever you have to do.” — Paul Henderson
“They had guns ... we had hockey sticks. This was really the David and Goliath here.” — Phil Esposito
“This was a Cold War. Our way of living against their way of living.” — Rod Seiling
“It scared the hell out of me that I would have killed them to win. That scared me.” — Phil Esposito
“They stole our steaks. They stole our Cokes.” — Gary Bergman
“The Canadian fans up in the stands, 3,000 strong, waving the flags and singing O Canada. My, oh, my. I’ll never forget that. Never.” — Brian Glennie
“Half of our supplies were lost. No explanation. Lost.” — Ron Ellis