Paul Henderson - Early Life

Early Life

Henderson was born January 28, 1943, near Kincardine, Ontario. His mother, Evelyn, had gone into labour while staying at his father's parents' farm in the nearby community of Amberley during a snowstorm. She gave birth to Paul while the family was crossing Lake Huron via horse-drawn sleigh attempting to reach the hospital in Kincardine. His father, Garnet, fought for Canada during the Second World War and Paul was nearly three years old before they met. Garnet worked for the Canadian National Railway after his return, and the family – Paul was the eldest to brother Bruce and sisters Marilyn, Carolyn and Sandra – moved frequently to different posts in Ontario before settling in Lucknow.

The family often struggled financially, though Garnet was always able to provide the necessities. Paul's first experiences with hockey came at a young age in the basement of the Chinese restaurant operated by Charlie Chin, an immigrant who settled in Lucknow. The Chin family bought Henderson his first set of hockey equipment. He had been using old catalogues as shin pads. His father coached his youth teams, and at one pee-wee tournament, told his teammates simply to "just give the puck to Paul and get out of his way. He'll score for you". He did, scoring seven goals in one game.

It was in Lucknow where Henderson met his future wife, Eleanor, at the age of 15 while he was working at a grocery store. They married in 1962, and though Henderson had the opportunity to play professional hockey by that time, he considered giving up the game to become a history and physical education teacher. His father convinced him to remain in hockey after warning him that he would regret it the rest of his life if he never tried to make the National Hockey League (NHL).

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