If there's a goal that everyone remembers,
It was back in old '72...
--Gordon Downey, "Fireworks."
Paul Henderson, born in Kincardine, Ontario in 1943, played left wing for the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs, He eventually found his way into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame (but not the Hockey Hall of Fame) and onto a Canadian stamp. He never won a Stanley Cup (though he was with Detroit in 1966, when they made the finals) or distinguished himself as anything but slightly better-than-average in the National Hockey League (NHL). Indeed, he was one of the last players chosen for Team Canada in 1972. Despite his less-than- spectacular record, he, Bobby Clarke, and Ron Ellis emerged from training camp as a strong line, and became the only line that was kept together throughout what would come to be called the Summit Series between Canada and the U.S.S.R..
The series itself is handled at the node The Summit Series and several others, beginning with Summit Series Game 1 Summary. In short, the Canadian team showed poorly in the early games, and were booed by their own fans. They turned the series around in Russia, so that by the final games, shops and businesses were closed, university and college classes were cancelled, and television sets found their way into classrooms across the nation.
Henderson scored twice in game 5 and scored the winning goals in games 6, 7, and 8: the final game.
In the final seconds of that game, Henderson replaced Pete Mahovlich. "I jumped on the ice and rushed straight for their net," he later said. "I had this strange feeling that I could score the winning goal. I had a great chance just before I scored, but Cournoyer's pass went behind me. Then I was tripped up and crashed into the boards behind the net. I leaped up and moved in front, just in time to see Esposito take a shot at Tretiak from inside the faceoff circle. The rebound came right to my stick and I tried to slide the puck past Tretiak.... He got a piece of it. But a second rebound came right to me. This time I flipped the puck over him and into the net."(Henderson, quoted in McFarlane).
He finished his hockey career in 1981 after playing for the Atlanta Flames and finally with the Toronto Toros and Birmingham Bulls, these last two franchises part of the short-lived World Hockey Association(WHA).
In the mid-1970s, he converted to fundamentalist Christianity, and in the 1980s founded the Leadership Group, an advisor group which tries to teach biblical principals to people in business. Henderson also maintains an association with Power to Change, a religious organization. He summarized his life and viewpoints in a book, Shooting for Glory
Initially, Henderson expressed annoyance with the lack of privacy that followed his success, and with his fifteen seconds-variety claim to fame. He now recalls the goal quite fondly, a view found in Scott Morrison's The Day Canada Stood Still, where he says, "I honestly can't think of anything better with which to be associated."
UPDATE: In June 2010, billionaire Mitchell Goldhar purchased Henderson's '72 jersey for more than one million dollars, making it the most expensive piece of Canadian hockey memorabilia in history.
The Leadership Group. http://www.theleadershipgroup.ca/team_paul.html
Brian McFarlane. Team Canada 1972: Where Are They Now? Etobikoke, Ontario: Stewart House, 2001.
Scott Morrison. The Day Canada Stood Still. Toronto: Passport Productions, 1972.
"Paul Henderson." 1972 Summit Series. http://www.1972summitseries.com/henderson.html