It all started on a September's day in 1972.
"Henderson has scored for Canada."
Foster Hewitt's timeless words immortalized Paul Henderson's place in hockey history. He instantly became a legend. A legend of Team Canada.
Canada has gone on to capture numerous international titles since the 1972 Summit Series: Canada Cups, world championships, world junior championships and men's and women's Olympic gold medals. With each victory came new heroes. Some of those heroes became legends.
Back in 2005 I wrote a book called Legends of Team Canada so we would always remember the heroics of Paul Henderson and leadership of Phil Esposito in the 1972 Summit Series. So we recapture the magic between Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in the 1987 Canada Cup, and pay homage to other Canada Cup legends like Bobby Orr, Darryl Sittler, Paul Coffey, John Tonelli and Mark Messier. We honoured World Champions like Ryan Smyth and Bill Ranford. We cherish Olympic glories supplied by the likes of Joe Sakic, Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford.
Now that the 2010 Vancouver Olympics are upon us, the nation is looking for a new hero, a new legend. The pressure has never been higher, the stakes never more dramatic. Now is a time where every man and woman on our hockey teams must want to be that hero. Because if you win Olympic gold on home ice and you might just go down as the greatest Canadian hockey legend of all time.
So I ask the question that I truly hope coaches Mike Babcock and Melody Davidson pose to their players right from day one: Who wants to be the next Legend of Team Canada?