BY NICHOLAS MERCER
Transcontinental Community Newspapers
It has been called the goal of the century!
It’s a goal everyone Canadian sports fan is familiar with – even if you weren’t alive to witness it, you’ve heard about it.
Everyone knows Paul Henderson slid the puck past USSR goalie Vladislav Tretiak from a Phil Esposito rebound in the 1972 Summit Series to score the winning goal for Canada.
The picture of Henderson, hands raised and pure elation on his face, being hugged by Esposito, remains engrained in the memory of all who have seen the historic footage.
Hockey fans in Gander will have the chance to live it Oct. 15.
That is when the Henderson Jersey Homecoming Tour rolls into town.
The jersey recently made its return to Canadian soil after being owned by an American collector.
The tour is designed to celebrate the iconic jersey’s return following its purchase by Canadian businessman Mitch Goldhar.
David Wills is the spokesman for the Henderson Jersey Homecoming Tour.
"The owner of the sweater really wants to share the jersey with Canadians."
The trailer will be taking up residence at the Gander Community Centre from noon until 4 p.m.
The truck makes a remarkable transition after it has come to a stop and expands to an area of 1,000 square feet.
Gander Coun. Nicole Lanning described it as a museum.
"The huge trailer becomes a showroom when it stops.”
Henderson played 13 seasons in the NHL, suiting up for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and the Atlanta Flames. He also spent time with the Toronto Toros and the Birmingham Bulls of the WHA before retiring in 1981.
But, it is the winner in the Summit Series that truly defined his career.
Coun. Lanning acknowledged there would be plenty to see in the rolling exhibit.
“Along with the jersey which will be on display, there is going to be lots of memorabilia.”
According to the tour's website, the trailer, which is travelling across Canada, will feature rare pieces of hockey history, Henderson's iconic number 19 jersey, stories, and videos, as well as an outdoor interactive hockey skills area.
Wills indicated there would be a number of items from the 1972 Summit Series on display, including Henderson’s gloves and stick.
"It is very educational, and there is lots of things for the people to do.”
In a press release, Goldhar, who organized the tour, said he was pleased and proud to have the opportunity to give Canadians to see the important piece of hockey history.
He noted the Summit Series and the winning goal in 1972 means a lot to all Canadians.
Coun. Lanning said
When tours like these happen, Coun. Lanning noted it’s not often that they go to places like Gander. Usually, its larger centres in Newfoundland, like St. John's and Mount Pearl.
Wills acknowledged that’s exactly what the tour wanted to avoid doing.
"We don't want to just do drive-bys to the usual spots. We want to go where the people are. Everyone is interested in the story, and Gander came up that way."
On previous stops, Wills said the response has been great.
"Everywhere we go there have been fantastic crowds. The people just love hearing the stories."
It is still unsure which stops Henderson, who was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in November 2010, will be making on the tour, if any.
"We are booking (his appearances) closer to the times of the dates."
Gander will be the first stop of four stops in Newfoundland and Labrador, with three additional stops coming in Corner Brook, Conception Bay and St. John's.
For more information on the tour visit the website at ‘www.hendersonjerseytour.com’.