As Canada Day grows near and another hockey season finishes, one has to look no further than Canadian icon Paul Henderson as a reason to celebrate our heritage and remember a true Canadian moment. Henderson was kind enough to share his thoughts on the 72′ Summit Series against the Soviet Union as well as discuss his current endeavor, the LeaderImpact group.
While Henderson scored the winning goal with only 34 seconds left in the 8th and final game against the Soviet Union, many of us forget that Team Canada was down 3 games to 1 and that Henderson also scored the Game winning goals in Games 6 and 7 to help win the series for the 72′ Team. In Canada, businesses shut down and kids watched the game in their respective classes to witness one of the Greatest Canadian moments in our history that to this day still elicits a strong sense of Canadian pride.
In the first few years after the goal when he saw the video clip of the goal, Henderson commented it would give him a chill. These days, he sees that video 2-3 times per month via his speaking engagements. “It’s incredible the number of stories that people share with me of where they were and what it meant, Henderson stated.” One gentleman came up to him years later stating that Henderson’s goal helped save his marriage. He had gone over to his wife’s house to sign the divorce papers when the 3rd period started. She suggested that they watch the final period before signing the documents. With Henderson’s last minute goal came jubilation and hugs with the realization that if they could share that much joy through this moment, that there must be other things they could enjoy together.
As Henderson’s hockey career was winding down, he lived in Birmingham, Alabama while playing for the Bulls. During that time he was introduced to some influential businessmen who challenged him to look at the spiritual dimension of his life. Henderson continued that journey and entered the seminary after retirement and eventually returned home to Canada in 1984 after having a challenge obtaining a green card.
Today, he is a Co-Founder of the LeaderImpact group, an organization that promotes Christian principles through Discovery Groups. “Back in 85′ we had 3 men, today we have hundreds of men in groups throughout Ontario, Henderson stated.” Additionally, Henderson and his wife have spoken at marriage conferences and he continues to inspire through the LeaderImpact group and corporate motivational speaking engagements.
In Henderson’s 18 years as a pro, primarily with Detroit and Toronto, he comments that sometimes people think that’s the only goal he scored. The 72′ Team includes many Hall of Famers that still remains close and every year they get together for a golf tournament.
On September 28th, 1972 Foster Hewitt announced, “Here’s a shot…Henderson made a wild stab for it and fell. Here’s another shot right in front…they score! Henderson has scored for Canada! Henderson, right in front of the net!” A moment that will be shared with future generations and a continued source of Canadian pride.
Author’s Note: The Canadian Expat Network would like to thank Paul Henderson for autographing the Ultimate DVD collection of the 72′ Summit Series for the Canada Day Giveaway.