Canadian players for the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union were honoured Wednesday, May 31, 2017 in Winnipeg with a stamp from Canada Post. The stamp is one of 10 in a series that commemorates historic moments of the last 50 years. On hand for the ceremony at the 17 Wing air force base in Winnipeg were: (L-R): former player Pat Stapleton, 17 Wing commander Colonel Andy Cook, and former players Yvan Cournoyer, Bobby Clarke and Brad Park. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Steve Lambert

New stamp celebrates Summit Series

WINNIPEG — The most famous goal scored in Canadian hockey history is now featured on a stamp.

Canada Post unveiled a stamp Wednesday showing Paul Henderson — arms in the air, hugged by Yvan Cournoyer — immediately after scoring the goal that gave Canada a victory over the Soviet Union in the 1972 Summit Series.

It is one of 10 maple-leaf-shaped stamps that mark significant moments in the last 50 years being released for the country’s 150th anniversary. The series also commemorates the completion of the Trans-Canada Highway, Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope and other historic events.

Cournoyer, one of several players on hand for the ceremony at a Winnipeg military base, remembered the drama of the Cold War-era clash against a different style of hockey and a very different culture.

“Their way to live was so different. They were communists, we were on this side of the (ocean),” said Cournoyer, who won 10 Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens.

Bobby Clarke was just three years out of Manitoba junior hockey when the series started, and didn’t realize the emotional impact the series had on Canadians when he returned to the Philadelphia Flyers.

“Two days after we landed, I was back in Philly,” Clarke recalled.

“Anybody who played in the States on that team never knew the impact on this country until years later. It became more and more special each year.”

Pete Mahovlich remembered the emotion the players felt after the Soviets shocked Canada in what everyone initially expected to be a lopsided series. After Game 4, the series switched to Moscow, Canada lost the next game and was on the ropes.

Still, Mahovlich recalled, 3,000 Canadians had made the trip to Moscow and loudly cheered on their team. After the loss, the fans sang O Canada as the team left the ice.

“That is the proudest moment of my life, going off the ice, knowing full well that we had the support of all Canada,” Mahovlich told the ceremony, pausing as he choked up.

Canada came back to win the final three games, capped by Henderson’s goal with 34 seconds to play. The drama was “like a movie,” Cournoyer said.

After 45 years, Clarke said he is grateful the team is still being commemorated.

“We’ve been honoured a number of times in this country, and this may be the highest honour that you could ever get.”


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