If you're the collecting type, and you have upwards of $20,000 dollars you don't know quite how to spend, you could make a bid to own the stick with which a 13-year-old Wayne Gretzky scored his 1000th goal.
I don't know why you would, but I'm cheap. I wouldn't pay more than $40 for a hockey stick. But that's just me.
Way back in the early 1970s, you see, people began to notice that Gretzky was pretty decent at hockey. (It probably happened sometime around when he scored 378 goals in a season.) His father began tracking his stats and, one night during a late-season exhibition game in 1974, the little great one hit four digits.
After potting his 1000th, Gretzky signed the stick and gave it to his coach, Ron St. Amand.
Let us pause here to examine 13-year-old Wayne's adorably practiced, cursive signature:
Nowadays, I bet you couldn't find 10 kids in 1000 that knew how to do a cursive capital G, let alone a lower-case Z. They'd be like Who the eff is Waym Dretyty? Is he related to Wayne Brady?
The stick remained in St. Amand's house until his death earlier this year at 73, at which point his widow decided to part with it. Now it's up for bid over at Heritage Auctions.
Now, I'm no collector, but as it turns out, I have the heart of picky one. I balked at this story when I first saw it yesterday. After all, the stick's not part of Gretzky's pro career, the numbers included exhibition games, and the stats were tracked by his Dad. That's not quite as bad as trusting the Minnesota stat counters with Cal Clutterbuck's hit totals, but even still... lame.
Turns out a lot of collectors see things similarly. From the Canadian Press:
Shawn Chaulk of Fort McMurray, Alta., who owns one of the largest collections of Gretzky memorabilia, is interested in purchasing the stick, which he says collectors will be very “opinionated on.”
“A lot of the collectors who collect his career stuff have no interest in that kind of thing because it’s not part of the pro career or when the person turned the corner and became pro, things like that,” Chaulk said. “It’ll appeal to some people just because it’s unique. It appealed to me more because it’s unique and because I’m a greedy collector who likes to have everything.
But there are plenty of people much less picky than I am. The highest bid at the time of this writing is $11,000, and Heritage Auctions expects, when the auction closes on August 1, it will be closer to $20,000.