Could the Canadian government buy Paul Henderson's historic 1972 Summit Series jersey, returning to Canada and ensuring it will be enjoyed by Canadian and hockey fans everywhere?
"The Department of Canadian Heritage recognizes that Paul Henderson's winning goal in the 1972 Summit Series is an important event in Canada's hockey history," a ministry spokesman said in a statement sent to Canwest News Service.This wing of the Canadian government has spent large sums of money to acquire items, often war related, for Canadian museums.
"Public institutions may have an interest in acquiring Paul Henderson's jersey," the statement added. "Funds are available to assist with the purchase of important cultural property threatened with export or to purchase cultural property that has been lost to Canada."
This is great news. I wondered about the future of the jersey, especially if it landed in the hands of hockey card companies that would then cut it up into 100s of pieces and create specialty cards featuring pieces of the jersey. I even wondered about the possibility of facilitating some sort of public bidding process where we could collect donations from fans to buy the jersey and to donate it to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
I know spending a few hundred thousand dollars in this economy will draw ire from some people, but I (obviously) would consider this money well spent. It is a significant artifact from part of our history. The government should preserve it and share it with the public, be it at the Hockey Hall of Fame or a government museum.