Paul Henderson has just scored the biggest goal in the history of hockey

Paul Henderson’s white, just-scored-the-biggest-goal-in-hockey-history jersey is up for auction. As I type this, it’s taking all I have not to retch. That’s how strongly I feel that this should not be allowed to happen. That jersey isn’t just cloth. It’s isn’t just something we’ve seen a million times on TV. It is Canada. Don’t believe me? As a country, we ARE the people who live here. Whether you were born before 1972 or not, that jersey, and that goal, have affected your life. Like I said – it IS Canada.

Years ago, jerseys, sticks, gloves, helmets and other items worn by players during big games – well, no one ever kept track of them. In fact, if you know a retired NHL team trainer who isn’t living well, he wasn’t very good at his job. Those guys had access to anything and everything. They knew the players. Trainers had all kinds of game-worn items given to them.

That’s how Henderson says his jersey is now up for sale. Following Canada’s incredible series win in the 1972 Summit Series in Moscow, Henderson gave the jersey to Team Canada trainer Joe Sgro. Henderson says Sgro sold it years later. That would be before the hockey memorabilia market exploded.

To be honest, my years as a producer for Hockey Night in Canada netted me a few small items from players. If you had access, you had stuff. All the stuff you wanted if you were a collector. I remember asking HNIC legend Brian McFarlane what he would change if he could do things over. He told me he’d ask every average to great NHL player for an autographed stick. Brian realized how wonderful those keepsakes would have been.

But now Canada’s greatest keepsake is being sold. Not right. This country has never been very good at remembering its past. In fact, we suck at it. And, frankly, off the top of my head I cannot think of a single artifact that would mean more to Canadians than Henderson’s jersey.

Jerseys, like the one Wayne Gretzky was wearing when he broke Phil Esposito's single-season record for goals, are worth a fortune today

I don’t begrudge former NHL players selling off their miniature Hart Trophies, or Stanley Cup rings, or old photos or anything else they’ve received in their careers. But this jersey goes WAY beyond that. What Paul Henderson did, in that jersey, is legendary. And will be forever.

It belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Not in a wing. Not off in a corner. Right at the front. Right where everyone can see what Henderson was wearing when he scored the biggest hockey goal ever scored.

It’s like selling off the Peace Tower…or the Rocky Mountains…or the Bay of Fundy. Those parts of Canada would NEVER be sold. And neither should this. It’s a national treasure. We need to treat it that way.

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6 Responses to “Paul Henderson’s jersey in a disgusting sell-off”

  1. Guy says:

    Not sure I share your vehemence on this one – sure it would be nice to have it in a museum but it is a free market. I think the pieces of cloth are not as valuable as our ability to relive the moment through stories and video. It will be cool some day to show my kids the highlights of the series on TV and tell them how I sat in the library of my school watching the final game. That is where tradition lives.

  2. Bobby says:

    Get over it Big Mouth. Having the jersey around isn’t going to be what links Canadians to this historic moment in hockey – it’s the storytelling. If the jersey was so important, we’d all be wearing replicas of it. Would it be great to have the jersey enshrined in the Hall of Fame? Sure – for those who get the chance to go visit it. But what’s even better is sitting and listening to people who saw the shot tell the story. The story is a shining thread woven into Canada’s fabric and Canadians will hold that in their hearts forever. The jersey’s just a prop.

  3. The Big Mouth says:

    I agree it’s a free market – but not for certain things. This is one of those. Here’s a question – one day, should it be OK for Alexandre Bilodeau’s freestyle skiing gold medal (the first ever won by Canada on home soil) to go up for sale? It should not. There’s a reason the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences does not allow Oscars to be sold by their recipients. They are valuable way beyond the simple statue you can hold in your hand. Same goes for Henderson’s jersey.

  4. David says:

    I share your dismay on this one. But then I am one of those that thinks it is a travesty that Henderson is not in the Hockey HOF. The goal (one of several he scored in the ‘72 Series) was one of the most significant moments in hockey history but it was bigger even than that. It was an important moment in the history of Canada. The jersey needs to be where it can shared by all Canadians and Paul needs to be inducted into the Hall. NOW.

  5. The Big Mouth says:

    Canada is so quick to forget what got us to where we are. Sometimes, I’m surprised we haven’t hunted beavers to extinction. We need to recognize what makes Canada Canada. Paul Henderson’s goal is, clearly, one of those things.

  6. Bass says:

    I’ve had the pleasure to golf and talk with Paul Henderson about the series. He knew at the time just how big that goal was for Canada, and he’s proud that it has becoming a defining event in Canada’s hockey history. Yet, he gave the sweater away. I hope the current owner has the same generosity – and will donate it to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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