Henderson never tires talking about The Goal

The following article was written by Chris Thomas of the Simcoe Times-Reformer on Sept. 30, 1997. Mr. Thomas interviewed series star Paul Henderson. Normally I would supply a direct link to the article, but no link seems to exist.

Henderson never tires talking about The Goal
Chris Thomas, Simcoe Times-Reformer
Sept 30, 1997.

"The most famous and sought after athlete in Canada over the last several days says the fans made all the difference in the historic 1972 Canada-Russia series.

Paul Henderson, who scored the dramatic last minute winning goal which gave Canada the series and brought a nation to its feet, credited the 3,000 Canadians who accompanied Team Canada to Moscow 25 years ago.

"We wouldn't have won without the fans," Henderson said in a telephone interview with the Times-Reformer last week arranged by his friend Paul Oliver, of Simcoe.

Henderson said the players were "on such a downer" after the first four games leaving the Canadians trailing the series two games to one, with a tie. The sense of superiority of Canadian hockey had been shattered and many people blamed the players, with the notable exception of those who accompanied the team to Russia. Even after losing the fifth game in Moscow, Henderson said the fans were "still cheering us like crazy."

"They'd start singing the Canadian national anthem like crazy and would drown the place out," he said. "It's adversity that binds people together."

With their backs to the wall and the pride of an entire country resting on their shoulders, Team Canada rebounded to win the next three games.

And he never tires of talking about it.

"People's eyes still get big as saucers remembering and I'm always being told new stories about their reaction," he said.

Henderson said he had a premonition while sitting on the bench during the last minute of the game.

"I stood up and yelled and yelled at (Peter) Mahovlich to get off," he said. "I had a sense I had to get out there."

After the goal, he came back to the bench and coach Harry Sinden asked him to stay out of the final 34 seconds.

"I couldn't have done it," Henderson said. "My tank was totally, unequivocally empty."

Henderson, who became a born again Christian in 1975, was asked if he thought there may have been some divine intervention involved.

"I have no idea, but when I get to heaven, one of my first questions will be if God was behind me," he said.

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Special thanks to Joseph Nieforth.