Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

In Hockey League. (1972 summit series) Played

In September 1972, with thirty-four seconds remaining in the final hockey game of the tied Canada Russia Summit Series, as Canadians sat on the edge of their seats, Paul Henderson scored the winning goal. (Canadian Encyclopedia) (CBC) Canada’s victory became the most important moment in Canadian hockey history and remains forever stamped in Canada’s memory. Both countries had international hockey reputations to defend as the Soviet Union (USSR) dominated International hockey and Canada is recognized as the country that gave birth to the game and as the place that produced the stellar hockey players for the National Hockey League. (1972 summit series)  Played at the height of the Cold War, the series also represented the battle between the two political systems of western democracy and Eastern Bloc communism. (Globe and Mail) This iconic moment and unforgettable series deserve permanent recognition in a monument that will continue to establish national pride and importance of the victory alive for future generations of Canadians. When the eight-game exhibition hockey series was announced to Canadians, most sports fans believed that Canada would easily sweep the series by winning all eight games. Canadians had invented the game and with NHL superstars like Phil Esposito and Bobby Clarke playing for them, they were considered sure winners. As their national winter sport, Canadians eat, sleep and breath hockey for six months of the year. Since 19__ when Hockey became an official sport at the Winters Olympics, Canada had won the gold medal six out of seven times, thereby proving their dominance on the world stage. The USSR appeared to be a minor threat and a loss to them in such an important international confrontation would be a humiliating blow to national pride. When the first game was played in Montreal on September 2, 1972, Canada scored two goals in the first 5 minutes, but the Soviets rallied and won the game 7-3.  As a result, Canadian team players quickly became unpopular with the  Canadian public while the rivalry with the USSR intensified. While Canada won game two, game three played to a tied score and  The Soviets showed they were a force to be reckoned with.  Over the next four games, the teams traded wins and by game 7 the series was tied at 3 wins apiece (and one tie).  When the final game dawned, Canadian patriots held their breath and the stage was set for the most monumental sports faceoff in Canadian history  The Series was played at the height of the Cold War which heightened the rivalry and placed more pressure on Canada to win for the West.  The Cold War was in effect from 1947- 1991 and was the term given to the rivalry between the Western democracies and the Eastern Bloc communist nations.  The west led by the United States,  had a capitalist economic system and believed in having a free market and a liberal democratic system of government while the Eastern Bloc, led by the Soviet Union had state-controlled economics and a government controlled by the nation’s communist party.  The Summit series was a symbol of this competition being played out on the ice. The superior system should produce the better team and show its muscle by defeating the weaker system.Fortunately for Canada,  Paul Henderson saved the day by breaking the tied series and scoring the winning goal that won the series for Canada.  The entire country erupted in celebration and as Foster Hewitt put it the  “goal was heard around the world” (Craats, 28).  Such a moment of national pride and international recognition deserves to be celebrated with a monument that will allow future generations of Canadians to recall this celebrated event. It is proposed that a large statue of Paul Henderson in his victorious pose with both hands raised, should be erected in Maple Leafs Square in front of the Air Canada Center where the Toronto Maple Leafs play. A plaque explaining the national significance of the series and Paul Henderson’s importance will be placed at the foot of the monument. From the moment the series unfolded to its dramatic end,  Canadians were united, showed exemplary national pride and Canada received international praise. Without a doubt, such a glorious Canadian moment deserves to be kept alive in the nation’s memory.   


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