There are certain moments captured in hockey history that, when you re-visit them in video or your mind’s eye, give you goose bumps of nostalgia. Each individual has his own and some are shared across fandom lines. They bring us all together, whether in shared celebration or conflicting emotion. They breathe life into the game and are often the reasons we become attracted to the sport in the first place.
I’m talking about moments like Doug Gilmour’s behind-the-net, spin-o-rama against the St. Louis Blues in the 1993 playoffs. Even though it was only Game 1, that’s a moment Maple Leafs fans still gleam over. Heck, I have a certain friend who constantly tried to reproduce the goal whenever we sat down to play an NHL video game.
If you’re a Rangers fan, it’s a different kind of wraparound that sticks in your memory. Stephane Matteau’s Game 7 overtime-winner against Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils in 1994 returned Manhattan to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 15 years and was the catalyst to the Blueshirts first championship in 54 years. Perhaps more chilling than watching the goal itself is the famous “Matteau, Matteau, Matteau!” play-by-play call that captured the unlikely event of a player who never scored 20 goals in a season sending hockey’s biggest and most snake-bitten franchise back to the big stage.
The international stage has its own collection of these special, all-time clips as well. Peter Forsberg’s shootout deke in 1994 against Canada is still emulated by NHLers today and led Sweden to a gold medal win over Canada. It was so memorable, in fact, it was placed on a postage stamp.
In Canada, the Mario Lemieux-Wayne Gretzky combination that led to the game-winning goal in the 1987 Canada Cup against the USSR was not only important in the win, but is also unique because the two stars of a generation came together to produce it. How many times in history have two of the top five players of all-time worked together to create a goal of such magnitude?
And if we’re on the topic of Canada and international goals, it would be remiss to look past Paul Henderson’s desperation goal that led to the 1972 Summit Series win and the shiver-inducing call by the legendary Foster Hewitt that brought a nation to its feet.
Personally, there is one of these that stands above all the others. I can remember exactly where I was, who I was with and why we were there. We weren’t fans of this team, but we were fans of the game and its greatest players.
When the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 2001, everyone huddled around the television and anticipated captain Joe Sakic handing it over to a 22-year veteran and future Hall of Famer who had yet to experience hockey’s greatest joy. Not only did Sakic give the Cup to Ray Bourque first, he let No. 77 be the first to raise it over his exhausted head. It was the culmination of a career and the defining point of a decade as Bourque let it all out in victory.
For me, it’s the greatest moment captured in hockey’s history.
What’s your favorite moment that still gives you goose bumps when you see or think about it?
Rory Boylen is TheHockeyNews.com’s web editor. His column appears regularly only on THN.com.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.