Authenticity of Rare Wayne Gretzky Game Used Puck Called Into Question
When Wayne Gretzky broke Gordie Howe's National Hockey League record of 1,850 career points on Oct. 15, 1989, he knew it would be a huge moment in his career. However, he couldn't have possibly foreseen that almost 22 years later, there would still be uncertainty regarding the location of the record-breaking puck.
Classic Auctions in Quebec recently sold at auction a puck it claims is the one Gretzky broke the record with. The puck was purchased for over $50,000 by an unnamed collector in Canada. However, the Hockey Hall of Fame claims the purchased puck is not the record-setter and insists the puck that marked Gretzky's record 1,851st point has been displayed in their museum for years.
The uncertainty centers around who laid hands on the puck immediately after the record was broken. Classic Auctions contends Don Whidden, the timekeeper at the Edmonton Oilers' Northlands Coliseum who presided over the game, was given the puck for safekeeping. Whidden placed the puck in a briefcase that contained three other unused pucks. Whidden applied strips of tape on the edges of each puck and included the details of the goal on each. He then wrote, "This one is the real one," on the puck that set the record. One of the unused pucks was supplied to the Oilers upon request after the game, but the other three pucks have been in Whidden's possession since then.
The Hockey Hall of Fame, confident it possesses the true puck, claim a linesman, Swede Knox, was tasked with retrieving the record-breaking puck and bringing it to the scorekeeper's box. Gretzky was photographed holding the puck after the game and then it was shipped to the Hockey Museum. The puck in the photo had a strip of tape around the edge.
The question is likely to remain unanswered as both sides are adamant they have the true puck.