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Paul Henderson - Living with Purpose
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September 28, 2012; it will have been 40 years since game 8 of the Canada — Russia Summit Series that was played in Moscow at the Luzhniki Ice Palace. Game 8 and the series was tied, 3 wins each and a tie. In Canada TV's were rolled into the classrooms and businesses closed as the nation virtually shut down.

The game started off in controversy even before the first puck was dropped. The Russians put in a last minute substitute referee and immediately the Canadians were forced to take one, then another and a continuous string of very questionable penalties.

Heading into the final(1) period, the Soviets held a 5-3 lead and it looked grim for Canada. Yet,the Canadians came out roaring in the third period, and Phil Esposito and Yvan Cournoyer scored to even it up.

(1)Final because before the start of the third period a member of the Soviet delegation unexpectedly informed Canada that, if the score and the series remained tied, the Soviets would claim victory on goal differential.)

After Cournoyer's goal, Alan Eagleson (seated across the ice from the Team Canada bench) caused a ruckus in the crowd because the goal light had not come on. As he was being subdued by the Soviet police, the Canadian players headed over, Peter Mahovlich actually going over the boards to confront police with his stick. Eagleson was freed, and the coaches escorted him across the ice to the bench.

In the final minute of play, with Phil Esposito, Yvan Cournoyer and Peter Mahovlich out on the ice, Paul Henderson stood up at the bench and called Mahovlich off the ice as he was skating by. Bobby Clarke was supposed to replace Esposito, but Phil didn't come off ("There was no way I was coming off the ice in that situation" Esposito said). Esposito got off a good shot, and with just 34 seconds remaining in the game, Henderson, in perhaps the most famous moment in Canadian sports history, put the rebound behind Soviet goaltender Vladislav Tretiak. Oh Canada! What a proud day. Hockey history had been made and Mr. Paul Henderson was known from that day forward as a Canadian hero.

You can’t put a price on pride though Toronto real-estate magnate Mitchell Goldhar tried anyway. Classic Auctions, a Montreal-based auction house says it's received a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records about their sale to Mr. Goldhar of the jersey Henderson was wearing when he scored the winning goal in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviets. The auction house confirmed that Guinness has classified it as the most expensive hockey jersey ever sold at auction and possibly the most expensive ever auctioned off, in any sport — putting Henderson atop an even more illustrious category, beyond hockey greats. Oh, the price? The winning bid came in at $1.275 million in the auction that was held in 2010. Another Henderson record.

After the Summit series, Henderson felt immense pressure to live up to his remarkable accomplishment. This was a heavy burden and it started a fall into dark, troubled times that lasted for the next few years. Paul became a Christian in 1975 and found peace from the demands of the hockey world.

Now Henderson is in the battle of all battles. In 2010, Henderson was diagnosed with Leukemia. How does someone like the great Paul Henderson deal with such catastrophic news? In an interview in the Globe and Mail in March Henderson was quoted: "I wrote in my journal in January of 2010, 'Lord, thank you for the cancer,' because when you get cancer you can differentiate the trivial from the important so much [quicker], your mortality is right there in front of you. I still don't know if I have three months, six months, 10 years, whatever it is. I'm probably such an idiot I would never experience this clarity without getting cancer."

Later this year Henderson will be launching another cancer campaign and his third book, The Goal of My Life. He says the new book details of his life beyond the historic moment, including the troubled years before he became a Christian 37 years ago.

In London we are so very fortunate to be able to hear from the man himself. On May 10th Mr. Henderson will be the guest of honour and speaker at the London Christian Prayer Breakfast at the Hilton. As the time this article was written, tickets were already limited, so if you want to be a part of this memorable event contact one of these locations for tickets.


CCNL 519-455-7381
Compassion Canada 519-668-0224
Summerside Community Church 519-680-3541
Village Green Community Church 519-473-5505
West London Alliance 519-471-8716
First Christian Reformed Church 519-432-7997
North Park Community Church 519-457-1400
Royal View Pentecostal Church 519-451-2170
Stoney Creek Baptist Church 519-457-7072


Creation Book Store 519-659-2610
Mustard Seed 519-439-4423