May 18, 2008
Waaaaay back when Whitby won the Worlds
By TERRY JONES
QUEBEC CITY -- Shane Doan considers himself something of a Canada-Russia hockey historian. He even has a picture of Paul Henderson scoring for Canada hanging on his wall to give evidence to it.
But he's never heard of the 1958 Whitby Dunlops.
"Whitby? Dunlops? Nope," Doan said.
Today, it's Canada vs. Russia for gold at the 2008 IIHF World Championship. The last time Canada and Russia faced each other at this event with the gold medal on the line was back when Harry Sinden and the Whitby Dunlops represented Canada.
"No way," Doan said.
There's been so much Canada-Russia hockey history but not at the event which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the IIHF by bringing the event to Canada for the first time.
Back in 1958, the Dunlops were 6-0 in the round robin and the Soviet Union was 5-0-1 going into the final game of the playoff-less tournament which happened to pit Canada vs. Russia.
Canada won it 4-2.
"I knew there'd never been an actual Canada-Russia gold-medal game since they went to this format, but I was shocked when somebody told me that," said Doan, who along with teammate Dany Heatley could today become the first players in modern day history to win three gold medals for Canada.
It's the 'Drive For 25' here today, as Canada goes for a 25th gold. The Soviet Union won 22 golds and Russia another one in 1993.
Doan purchased a framed, autographed picture of Henderson scoring the winning goal in the 1972 Canada-Russia summit series, which hangs on his wall as a focal point in his house to this day.
"It was in Kamloops at a silent auction at a golf tournament to raise money for a children's hospital," Doan said.
"I can't remember how much I paid for it. It was a lot more than I should have at the time. It's a huge picture of Henderson with his hands in the air after scoring the goal, with Vladislav Tretiak laying on the ice. It's signed by Henderson, Tretiak and Yvon Cournoyer, with hockey cards signed by them as part of it. I paid a lot, but I made sure I got it.
"I'd heard so many stories and watched that video so many times. I've seen it and heard it hundreds of times. I actually think it's better hearing it than seeing it," Doan said of Foster Hewitt's play-by-play.
"I knew about Henderson scoring the winning goal in the sixth, seventh and eight games," added Doan, who has a glass case with the jersey and gold medals from his 2003 and 2007 world championships in his home in Phoenix, as well.
"My dad loved hockey. My uncles loved hockey. They talked about '72 all the time. I listened to them arguing about the '87 Team Canada from the Canada Cup," he said of the team which played the Russians in three 6-5 games, with Wayne Gretzky passing to Mario Lemieux for the winner.
"They'd argue it against the 1991 team or the 1976 team," Doan said of those Canada Cups. "I remember the Rendezvous '87 series with the Russians here in Quebec City. I watched that as a kid."
But the Whitby Dunlops?
Getting to this game has been a history lesson the Halkirk, Alta., native didn't think he needed.
The point is, he knows enough about Canada-Russia hockey history to know one thing. This one is special.
"Obviously, playing this game in Canada is a huge opportunity," Doan said. "To play this game in front of Canadian fans, against Russia is a very special game."
Who knows? 'Doan scores for Canada' may be another moment in history --and a photo of him for his wall.