Enthusiastic hockey fans have for centuries debated about the greatest moment in Canadian Hockey History.
While the older generation would no doubt point to September 28, 1972, when Team Canada forward Paul Henderson thrilled a nation and cemented his legacy by scoring the ‘72 Summit Series tournament winning goal, younger fans would more than likely have another opinion.
During the Summit Series or Super Series, Team Canada played the Soviet Union in an epic eight game series which captivated fans from coast to coast.
In a match-up between two true super powers, the Soviet Union, who back then dominated international hockey, proved to be a real test for Team Canada. The Summit Series wasn’t decided until that historic Eighth game in Russia when Henderson emerged as a Canadian icon when with 34 seconds remaining, he scored the eventual series winner in what was a 6-5 win.
Meanwhile, younger fans who wouldn’t remember Henderson’s heroics, or understand the political significance of the ’72 series, might point to the 1987 Canada Cup series which saw Team Canada once again make hockey history by dramatically pulling off a come from behind finals win against the Soviet Union.
Competing in a best two out three finals, Team Canada dropped the opener by a 6-5 score, before prevailing in double overtime by coming out on top 6-5; which set the stage for a winner take all Game 3 showdown at Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum.
The finals, which many have called he best exhibition of hockey ever played, wrapped up on September 15th, when 17,026 fans witnessed thrilling history as Team Canada’s Wayne Gretzky set up Mario Lemieux for the tournament winner as they dramatically won the Canada Cup courtesy of a come from behind 6-5 win.
“For me it is right at the top with the Stanley Cup obviously,” Lemieux said about the thrill of playing and winning the 1987 Canada Cup tournament. “The Stanley Cup is very special and you always dream about winning a Stanley Cup but the ’87 Canada Cup was special. I got a chance to play with all the great players. Gretzky, (Mark) Messier, (Glenn) Anderson, all these guys. I really learned a lot from the month I was with them and I learned what it takes to get to the top.”
Lemieux’s dramatic 1987 Canada Cup winning goal, which came with 1:26 remaining is often looked upon as the greatest moment of Canadian Hockey History.
Another compelling achievement which the younger fans talk about took place on February 28, 2010 when Team Canada forward Sidney Crosby electrified all of Canada when proving clutch by scoring the overtime gold medal winning goal in a 3-2 Gold Medal game win against the U.S.A. at the Winter Olympic Games held in Vancouver.
Skating down low, Crosby took a pass from linemate Jerome Iginla before firing the eventual winner behind U.S.A. goalie Ryan Miller.
Other big accomplishments in Canadian hockey history include watching various Canadian heroes such Hall of Famers as Montreal Canadiens great Maurice Rocket Richard who was the first to ever score 50 goals in 50 games, Toronto Maple Leafs captain Darryl Sittler who thrilled fans back in 1976 by scoring 10 points in a game against the Boston Bruins and all time great and the NHL’s all-time leading scorer Wayne Gretzky to name just a few.
What makes debating the greatest hockey moments so enjoyable, is that there is no wrong answer to what is truly the greatest Canadian hockey moment.