Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Henderson has scored for Canada

It was an event that truly captured the essence of being a Canadian. The date forever etched in our collective minds and souls - September 28, 1972. No detailed explanation is required concerning what the date means to most Canadians - it is the day Paul Henderson's game-winning goal in game 8 provided Team Canada 1972 with the Summit Series victory over the Soviet Union.

On February 26, 2011, a new exhibit - "The Henderson Jersey Homecoming Tour" - was open for public viewing at the Air Canada Centre.

The large transport truck and trailer which houses the exhibit takes it's position in Maple Leaf Square beside the Air Canada Centre.

A sign greets fans as the walk-up the stairway to the exhibit.

Before entering the main room of the exhibit, fans can explore a set of Team Canada 1972 hockey cards.
In both rooms, video screens provide a history of the series.
A giant board provides details on each game. A tip-of-the-cap to hockey writer/historian Joe Pelletier for his splendid work in bringing the series to life with the written word.

The curtains which indicate you are about to enter the main exhibit room.

As you enter the main room, your eyes immediately focus on the large glassed showcase, wonderfully placed in the middle of the room. The Henderson jersey clearly is the star attraction. The sweater hangs alone,  with no other memorabilia contained within the case. The black-base reads "Summit Series 1972" and the top panel reads "Paul Henderson Jersey" with a large number "19".

The Soviet Union perspective. A bulletin board displays post-cards, ticket stubs and newspaper clippings.
Beneath this rests a showcase with pins, currency and other artifacts.

The man himself, Paul Henderson, was on hand to give a short talk and participate in a question and answer session. Henderson pointed out that he removed the lining from inside the sweater and shortened the sleeves. This provided him with greater comfort and flexibility during the games. Following the series, Henderson gave the sweater to Team Canada 1972/Toronto Maple Leafs trainer Joe Sgro. The toughest player he faced on the Soviet Union? "Tretiak", Henderson replied without an ounce of hesitation. He described the fans who travelled to the Soviet Union for the final 4 games as being an "integral part" of Team Canada's victory.

Fans attending the exhibit were provided with some terrific parting gifts. A red winter scarf (with the exhibits logo) and a clip-pin are delightful keepsakes of the experience. A bookmark provides information on a new book by Paul Henderson (with Jim Prime) - 'How Hockey explains Canada" - with a scheduled publication date of October 2011. As if that wasn't enough, the Henderson family was handing out a (DVD) 60-minute documentary titled "The Goal : The Paul Henderson Story".

The defining moment of the exhibit for this writer came as a result of the action playing on the big screen. With most of the crowd viewing the sweater and contents of various showcases, there was a moment when most in the room turned their heads and focused on the TV monitor. Their impulse to abandon what they were doing was caused by a single voice calling out "THEY SCORE, HENDERSON HAS SCORED FOR CANADA". The play by play provided by Foster Hewitt brought the house to a standstill. It was amazing to witness.

Did I mention something about soul?

No comments:

Post a Comment