Paul Henderson speaks during his Jersey Tour. (Photo: Bianca Müller)

Henderson's goal still the most important in Canadian hockey history

The legendary forward is still on top, student says.

Paul Henderson, scorer of the greatest goal in Canadian hockey history, was in Halifax this past Saturday.

On Monday, Christian Pollard, a third-year student at Dalhousie University and The University of King's College, expressed dismay at missing a chance to meet the legend.

The Henderson Jersey Tour passed through Bedford, N.S. this past weekend, and Halifax community members of all ages gathered to see the hockey hero in person and relive memories.

The goal that will never be forgotten

The 1972 Summit Series, which pitted Canada against the Soviet Union in an eight game series, marks a seminal point in many Canadians' lives. In the final game, forward Paul Henderson scored the winning goal with just 30 seconds left, completing a comeback from a two-game series deficit and cementing his place in Canadian hockey history.

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Bedford resident Willis Eisner, 80, was a member of the Canadian Forces and was stationed at Summerside, P.E.I. at the time.

"That goal that Henderson scored is the most famous goal scored by a Canadian, ever," he said from the mobile trailer display set up outside BMO Centre.

"Even more famous than Bobby Orr's, the one flying in the air," added his son Brian, now 51.

"It seemed to bring the country together, let's put it that way," said Willis.

One stunning aspect of the goal's story is that Henderson should not have even been playing at the time. Slated to finish the game on the bench, at the last minute Henderson jumped to his feet and called Frank Mahovlich off the ice.

"Five seconds before I started yelling at him, I had no idea I was going to do it," Henderson said, addressing the crowd of about 30 gathered around him on Saturday.

Comparing it to Crosby's goal

Back at the Dalhousie University Student Union Building, Pollard explains that his father has been telling him stories about Paul Henderson's achievements for as long as he remembers.

Asked if he has a similarly meaningful sports memory, he talks about Sidney Crosby's 2010 Olympic gold-medal-winning goal, and the description sounds eerily familiar.

"It's almost like it was the goal he was born to score," Pollard says. "It was the thing that needed to happen and brought Canada together so much."

Having listened to his father's recollections of the political environment at the time of the Henderson goal - the series took place during the Cold War - Pollard says that even Crosby's goal does not compare.

"I think he will always remember where he was," Pollard says, speaking about his father. "My history teacher in high school used to tell me the story of where he was. Everyone who was alive for it remembers where they were."

Pollard continues, saying that the only event during his lifetime that has reached the same magnitude as the stories about Henderson's goal is 9/11.

The tour, which began in January, has already traveled through Ontario and B.C. and is now working its way through Atlantic Canada. Its next stop is at the Acadia University Athletic Complex in Wolfville, N.S. on Wednesday Nov. 9.

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