Eight years before Americans made it cool to hate the Soviet Union hockey team, their neighbors to the north engaged in a no-holds-barred, eight-game series with the Red Army that is widely regarded as the most intense battle ever fought on ice. The jersey of the Canadian man who emerged as the hero from said battle was recently auctioned off for more money than he ever made playing pro hockey.
In 1972, the proud nation of Canada and baby-killing terrorists of the USSR tried to end the age-old debate of which overtly cold country produces the best hockey players.
The two countries played eight games (four in Canada and four in Russia) with the winner receiving nothing more than the chance to brag about the victory.
After tying the third tilt of the series, the battle went into an eighth and deciding game (with the series tied at three wins a piece.)
Tied at five, with less than one minute remaining, scrappy bench warmer Paul Henderson scored the winning goal on a sharply-shot rebound. It was the single most iconic moment in Canadian sports history and a Where were you when? moment for Tim Horton’s water cooler talk everywhere.
The goal was so momentous – by Canadian standards – that the jersey Henderson wore during the game was sold for just under $1.1 million.
The auction served both as a milestone in eBay jersey sales and as a crass reminder that Canadians are willing to spend more on hockey paraphernalia than they are on their military.