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September 15, 1987 - Gretzky To Lemieux

As a Canadian teenager, watching Game 3 of the 1987 Canada Cup on September 15, 1987 from Hamilton felt like it was one of the hockey games in history. The game was played at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario and I just remember being so jealous that I was not there. The previous two games ended in 6-5 scores. Game one for the Soviets and Game 2 for Team Canada thanks to the heroics of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux who scored the game winning goal in the second overtime period. It was incredible to see Gretzky and Lemieux together on one line and they produced 29% of Canada's goals in the tournament.

Some call Game 2 the greatest game ever played.

The buzz and excitement as Game 3 started was electric. That soon changed after the Soviets grabbed a quick 3-0 in the first 8 minutes of the game. Canada roared back to take a 5-4 lead after 40 minutes. The Soviets would tie the game in the third period setting up one the most memorable goals in Canadian sports history. I will never forget the scene Lemieux, Gretzky, Dale Hawerchuk taking the face-off. I remember Dan Kelly's wonderful description of the rush up the ice. I remember Larry Murphy being the perfect decoy moving towards the Soviet net. I remember Gretzky soft hands sliding the puck behind him to a rushing Lemieux, and then the shot, the roar, and the embrace. Gretzky to Lemieux has been forever etched into our hockey vocabulary thanks to Kelly's explosive call "Lemieux in on goal, he shoots, he scores, MARIO LEMIEUX!!!" Kelly's call never gets old when I play it back.

(Video credit : CTV Sports)

Canada would hold on and win the 1987 Canada Cup

The 1987 Canada Cup Final series is considered by many to be the greatest series in hockey history. Many hockey purists will say the 1972 Summit Series and Paul Henderson's goal in the eighth game was a more important moment and goal in Canadian hockey history then the Lemieux game winner. As an 18-year-old fist pumping and celebrating in my house in Oxford Station, Ontario it felt like I was celebrating with the rest of the nation that night. It was an incredible game, the best series I have ever seen, and for my era it rivals the 1972 Summit Series.

To this day, Gretzky to Lemieux will always be my favorite international hockey moment.

What was the biggest goal in Canadian hockey history?

  • Paul Henderson - 72' Summit Series

  • Mario Lemieux - 87' Canada Cup

  • Sidney Crosby - 2010 Winter Olympics

Where were you when Gretzky to Lemieux happened?

Was the 1987 Canada Cup team the greatest team in Canadian hockey history?

Was Larry Murphy the greatest decoy in hockey history?

Comment below!


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