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David Menzies Headshot

Why Is Paul Henderson Not in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

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It was 39 years ago today that the most famous goal in Canadian hockey history was scored. And yet, in the almost four decades since that piece of vulcanized rubber got past Soviet Union goaltender Vladislav Tretiak, the Canadian who scored that goal, Paul Henderson, is still inexplicably not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

That's more disgraceful than a Todd Bertuzzi mugging.

Henderson's goal has been immortalized on coins and stamps. Ask any Canadian older than 45 where he or she was on Sept. 26, 1972, and they'll know. (For what it's worth, Game 8 was played on a weekday; like hundreds of my schoolmates, I was sitting in the hallway of Danesbury Public School in Toronto watching the game on a grainy black and white 20-inch screen TV - and loving it.)

After all, this was history in the making. Far more than a mere set of exhibition hockey games, the 1972 Summit Series took on overtones of "us versus them"; "capitalism versus communism"; "democracy versus dictatorship."

Losing to the evil U.S.S.R. was simply not an option.

And lest we forget, Paul Henderson was not a "one-hit wonder" in that series. The Toronto Maple Leaf forward also scored the winning goals in Games 6 and 7. Amazing.

And yet, for reasons that remain murky, the powers-that-be at the Hockey Hall of Fame are of the opinion that Paul Henderson isn't worthy of inclusion.

Granted, Henderson's NHL and WHA career statistics (he played from 1962 to 1981) won't make Wayne Gretzky green with envy. But who cares about those games? It was Henderson's goal 39 years ago today that literally had Canadians dancing in the streets.

To add insult to injury, last year, the Hockey Hall of Fame became yet another Canadian institution beholden to the tyranny of political correctness due to the induction of Cammi Granato and Angela James.
With all due respect, hands up how many people have actually seen Cammi Granato play a game of hockey?

And would any hockey fan ever be able to recognize Angela James in a crowd? (Hint: She's a dead-ringer for Howard Stern's producer, Baba Booey.)

But at the Hockey Hall of Fame, apparently gender equity now trumps bona fide achievement. Wow.
It's not too late to correct this mistake, however. Next year will be the 40th anniversary of The Goal. Let's collectively hope the Hockey Hall of Fame will correct its egregious error and grotesque oversight and admit Paul Henderson to the Hall where he belongs.

It's called doing the right thing.