September 28, 1972 was one of the biggest days in the history of hockey in Canada. Paul Henderson’s series-winner in Game 8 of the 1972 Summit Series is probably the most famous goal ever scored. It has certainly been replayed the largest number of times.
There will be umpteen tributes to Henderson and that team today. I don’t really expect to offer any new insight into him, his goal or his legacy, but one thing I can offer are his cards. Unfortunately, I didn’t decide I was going to do this until far too late and there are four of them I don’t have scanned (1967-68, 1973-74, 1975-76 and 1976-77). If I get a chance later, I will add them in. (Note – Got ’em now!)
The card at the above left is his Team Canada ’72 card. This was an insert for the second series of 1972-73 OPC. They were kind of hastily-made and are prone to off-cuts and pick-marks from the machinery. I’d meant to upgrade this set and polish it off as a 40-year tribute, but that didn’t happen.
1965-66 Topps (RC)
Interesting that they say he started off at right wing. All his success would come on the left side.
Still on the right, I see. That won’t last much longer.
Didn’t scan this one yet, though it’s really, really nice. Trust me.
This is the last card with the Wings (Paul and Wings?). He was part of a huge trade in March, 1968 going to the Leafs with Floyd Smith and Norm Ullman in exchange for Frank Mahovlich, Garry Unger and the rights to Carl Brewer (plus various small parts). He’s now on the left side, where he’d spend the rest of his career.
Not the most graceful airbrush job in the world, but it will do. According to the back, he has moved to the left side.
I don’t know why the picture seems faded at the right side of his head. It’s on the card and they all look like that.
1970-71 OPC, Dad’s Cookies and Esso stamp:
Not sure I’ve ever seen a player described as the league leader in goalposts before…
Dad’s Cookies cards were very tall and very thin and had a bunch of gobbledygook on the back. Not worth scanning.
Paul was also somewhat unusual as an early adopter of a helmet. It helped when he went headlong into the boards in Game 6.
Paul had an excellent year in 1971-72, scoring a career-high 38 goals. This earned him a spot on Team Canada, where he formed what was to be a checking line with fellow Leaf Ron Ellis and Bobby Clarke. One can only wonder whether he’d have played the role he played had Bobby Hull (also a LW) been available. One man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity….
1972-73 was not a good year for Paul. There was the comedown after the high of the Summit, he was injured for a good part of the season and didn’t perform as he’d hoped. Dealing with the stresses would eventually lead him to religion, which would be a major factor both in his eventual leaving of the Leafs and the balance of his life.
This is another oops – not yet scanned. This is his last NHL card. He’d join the WHA for 1974-75 and take part in the 1974 WHA Summit. It was not as momentous as 1972 but offered some interesting moments.
1974-75 OPC WHA
1975-76 OPC WHA
Not scanned yet – This was Paul’s last year as a pro in Toronto. The Toros would relocate to Birmingham and become the Bulls for 1976-77.
1976-77 OPC WHA
Not scanned yet. Birmingham even kept the old logo.
1977-78 OPC WHA
This is his last card as an active player. 1977-78 was a good year for Paul as he scored 38 goals. There were no cards produced for the last season of the WHA, 1978-79. Paul would return to the NHL for half a season in 1979-80 as an Atlanta Flame and then retire at the age of 37.
Paul Henderson was a good-skating two-way player. He wasn’t the sort who was a first or second-team all-star with any regularity (like a Bobby Hull or Frank Mahovlich), which is why he’s still not in the Hall of Fame despite repeated calls for his inclusion. What he was instead was just an extremely solid and reliable NHL forward, someone who could play on anybody’s top six – and for a month in September, 1972, he was as good a scorer as there was anywhere in hockey. He’s also a tremendously nice guy.
Thanks again, Paul.