Living history

Nicholas Mercer
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The magic surrounding Paul Henderson’s 1972 Summit Series goal to be felt in Gander

It has been called the goal of the century.

It’s a goal everyone Canadian sports fan is familiar with, even if you weren’t alive to witness it, you know about it.

Everyone knows Paul Henderson slid the puck past USSR goalie Vladislav Tretiak, off of a Phil Esposito rebound in the 1972 Summit Series between rivals Canada and the USSR.

The picture of Henderson, hands raised and pure elation on his face, being hugged by Esposito, remains engrained in the memory of all who have seen the historic footage.

On Oct. 15, hockey fans in Gander will have the chance to live it.

That is when the Henderson Jersey Homecoming Tour rolls into town.

Paul Henderson’s jersey recently made its return to Canadian soil, after being owned by an American collector.

The tour is designed to celebrate the return of the iconic jersey to Canada after it was bought buy Canadian businessman Mitch Goldhar.

“The owner of the sweater really wants to share the jersey with Canadians,” said David Wills, the spokesman for the Henderson Jersey Tour.

The trailer will be taking up residence at the Gander Community Centre from noon until 4 p.m.

The truck becomes remarkable after it has come to a stop.

It is a double wide trailer, and when stopped expands to an area of 1,000 square feet.

“The huge trailer becomes a showroom when it stops,” said town of Gander Councillor Nicole Lanning. “It’s like a museum.”

This museum will be free to the viewing public, and is not short on things to see.

“It shows the history of Paul Henderson, and his career,” said Coun. Lanning.

Henderson played 13 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL).

He suited up for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, and the Atlanta Flames in the NHL.

Henderson also spent time with the Toronto Toros and the Birmingham Bulls of the World Hockey Association (WHA) before retiring in 1981.

But, it is this goal that truly defined his career, and what he is widely known for.

“Along with the jersey which will be on display, there is going to be lots of memorabilia,” said Coun. Lanning.

According to the tour’s website, the trailer, which is travelling across Canada, will feature rare pieces of hockey history, Henderson’s iconic number 19 jersey, stories, and videos, as well as an outdoor interactive hockey skills area.

“Along with the jersey which will be on display, there is going to be lots of memorabilia.” Nicole Lanning

“There is going to be quite a lot of memorabilia from the 1972 Summit Series will be on display,” said Mr. Wills.

Along with Henderson’s jersey, his gloves and stick used from the series are going to be on display for all to see.

“It is very educational, and there is lots of things for the people to do,” he said, adding trivia to the list of activities to be done.

Current jersey owner, and tour organizer Mr. Goldhar said he was pleased and proud to have the opportunity to give Canadians to see the important piece of hockey history.

The Summit Series and the winning goal in 1972 means to so much to all Canadians, said Mr. Goldhar in a press release.

“We’re pretty privileged to have the tour stopping in Gander,” said Coun. Lanning.

When tours like these happen, it is not very often that they come to Gander.

Usually, they tend to go to the larger centres in Newfoundland, like St. John’s and Mount Pearl.

Mr. Wills said this was exactly what they wanted to avoid doing.

“We don’t want to just do drive-bys to the usual spots,” he said. “We want to go where the people are.

“Everyone is interested in the story, and Gander came up that way.”

On previous stops, Mr. Wills said the response has been great.

“Everywhere we go there have been fantastic crowds,” he said. “The people just love hearing the stories.”

It is still unsure which stops Henderson will be making on the tour, if any.

Henderson was recently diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in November 2010.

“We are booking (his appearances) closer to the times of the dates,” said Mr. Wills.

Gander will be the first stop in Newfoundland and Labrador, with three additional stops coming to Corner Brook, Conception Bay, and St. John’s.

For more information on the tour visit the website at www.hendersonjerseytour.com

 nmercer@ganderbeacon.ca

Organizations: Summit Series, National Hockey League, Henderson Jersey Homecoming Tour Gander Community Centre Toronto Maple Leafs Detroit Red Wings Atlanta Flames Toronto Toros World Hockey Association

Geographic location: Gander, Canada, USSR Newfoundland and Labrador Mount Pearl Corner Brook Conception Bay

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