Henderson marking Summit Series anniversary from home
Published Sunday, September 2, 2012 2:07PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 2, 2012 2:18PM EDT
Paul Henderson, whose winning goal against the Soviet Union helped Team Canada secure the 1972 Summit Series, won’t be attending the tournament's 40th anniversary in Moscow due to his health. But the Canadian hockey legend says he’ll be celebrating the showdown anyway, from home.
Henderson’s surviving teammates left for Russia on Sunday to mark the occasion, but the hockey legend says he won’t be able to join as he’s undergoing treatment for cancer.
“I’m hanging tough,” he told CTV News Channel on Sunday. “I had a reaction to the drug I was on and for the last eight days haven’t left the house.”
The 69-year-old has chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a type of cancer affecting the bone marrow and blood. He missed promotional events in August while undergoing treatment.
Rough week aside, Henderson says he expects to attend some Summit Series events at home early next week. Meanwhile, Henderson says he plans to enjoy the Labour Day weekend with some informal reminiscing of his own.
“I refuse to let it get (me) down. We’re going to have a wonderful time out in the backyard,” he said in a phone interview from Mississauga, Ont.
Henderson scored the winning goals in the last three games of the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union, largely considered to be a match-up between democracy and communism -- or as Henderson puts it “one way of life against the other.”
Canada was confident going into the tournament but faced increased pressure after losing three of the first five games before eventually clinching the series.
Henderson’s series-winning goal has become a treasured part of hockey lore, and Canadian cultural history.
“Canadians don’t ask me questions about the series, they tell me. They tell me exactly where they were, what they were doing when I scored that goal,” he said.
Even Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he recalls being in the gym at John Althouse Middle School in Etobicoke with his fellow classmates when Henderson scored.