Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Columns

September 22, 2012

HOPKINS: A super series offered a super opportunity

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —

They might have been considering Jimmy Jones-like suicides after the Soviets won three of the first five games, plus one tie, in the eight-game series. But the Canadian NHLers battled back. Trailing by two goals in the eighth and deciding game, they rallied and with 34 seconds to play, a magical goal.

“Henderson has scored for Canada!” The excited and yet somewhat understated words uttered by Foster Hewitt on Sept. 28, 1972 are famously cemented in Canadian broadcasting lore. The only other sports line of nationalistic pride I can think of is also rooted in hockey: “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”

However, I’m willing to bet that almost anyone in Canada knows that Paul Henderson scored the series winning goal with 34 seconds to play. Ask an American about Team USA’s 4-3 victory over the Soviets at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, and they might be able to tell you that the winning goal was scored in the third period, and that it was scored by Mike Eruzione. But the Americans had to hang on for 10 more minutes of playing time before they could celebrate.

I was a wide-eyed 9-year-old during the 1980 Winter Olympics, but I was well aware that the Soviet Union was the big-bad-bear. I knew communism was evil, even if I wasn’t sure what it was. By sixth grade, I had a better understanding.

I also learned a little about life behind the Iron Curtain in sixth grade. My teacher, Mrs. Otis, had traveled there with a group a few years earlier. Some of the stories were fascinating.

She was in line at the Kremlin (or was it to see Lenin’s tomb?) and had to go through a metal detector. Everyone was required to hand over their purses. She refused. The stern-looking woman insisted and tried to take it from Mrs. Otis.

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