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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

1974-75 Toronto Toros Paul Henderson Jersey

Born on this date in 1943, Paul Henderson is best known for scoring the deciding goal in the 1972 Summit Series.

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"Henderson scores for Canada!"

By 1972, Henderson was already a ten year NHL veteran, having started out his career with the Detroit Red Wings before being sent to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a blockbuster trade that also sent Norm Ullman and Floyd Smith, along with Doug Barrie to Toronto in exchange for Frank Mahovlich, Garry Unger, Pete Stemkowski and the rights to Carl Brewer.

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In the season prior to the Summit Series, Henderson achieved his career high with 38 goals and came close to equalling his NHL high in points of 60 from the 1970-71 season.

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After the Summit Series, which made him a household name in Canada, Henderson played just two more seasons with the Maple Leafs before signing with Toronto's WHA franchise, the Toros.

While with the Toros, Henderson would see a continuation of his offensive output, with seasons of 63 and 55 points before the club relocated, as was often happened with WHA clubs. This time though was one of the most unusual, as they team found itself in the deep south of the United States in Birmingham, Alabama! It was there that Henderson would set a career high with 66 points from 37 goals and 29 assists in 1977-78.

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The Bulls owner John Bassett would help lead the charge of the WHA signing underage players in order to lock up the best young talent before the NHL could get players under contract due to league rules at the time prohibiting players under the age of 20 from playing in the NHL. The Bulls would sign so many youngsters that they were dubbed the "Baby Bulls".

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Henderson would return to the NHL for one final season in 1979-80 with the Atlanta Flames.

After having reached the Stanley Cup Finals twice early in his career with Detroit, in 1964 and 1966, it must have come as a disappointment for Henderson to only qualify for the playoffs four times with Toronto, which all resulted in first round exits, none of which even reached seven games. Things were even worse in the WHA, as the Toros did not make the playoffs with Henderson while the renamed Bulls managed but one first round exit in three seasons.
While Henderson never got to raise the Stanley Cup, he will always be remembered as a winner for his exploits in the 1972 Summit Series, where he not only scored the famous decisive Game 8 goal, but also totaled seven goals in the eight game series.

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Henderson's final professional record shows 1067 games played, 376 goals and 384 assists for 760 points combined between both the NHL and the WHA.

Today's featured jersey is a 1974-75 Toronto Toros Paul Henderson jersey from Henderson's first season in the World Hockey Association. WHA jerseys are very desirable among collectors and many did not survive the policies of their often cash-strapped organizations, with many being recycled from season to season until wearing out, having names stripped off and used as training camp jerseys, being handed down to minor league teams or even given to local high schools who shared the same color scheme on occasion.

The Toros used the same jersey style for each of their three seasons in Toronto.

We naturally start with Henderson's famous goal in Game 8 of the 1972 Summit Series.

Here, Henderson's recalls his experiences in the 1972 Summit Series and what led up to his famous goal.

Finally, a bit of the Birmingham Bulls in action against the Houston Aeros from the 1977-78 season.

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