In early October, two statues of Wayne Gretzky were unveiled in his hometown of Brantford, Ontario. One statue at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre shows a young Great One and his parents, Walter and Phyllis. The other is one of an older Gretzky hoisting the Stanley Cup. Days after the unveiling, both statues were vandalized.
Now, a month later, there's more controversy.
A keen-eyed youngster was looking at the Cup statue during a recent visit when he noticed something was a little off about the engravings on the trophy Gretzky won four times as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. For starters, as you see above, Gretzky's named is misspelled "Gretzsky" and he's listed as a member of the 1998-99 Detroit Red Wings. Then there's the engraving that has the Edmonton Oilers as 2003 champions and features the names of Oprah Winfrey, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rocky Balboa and Oscar Wilde.
It doesn't stop there. Other listings show more erroneous winners and even more celebrity names, such as Muddy Waters and Kanye West.
So how did this happen?
Len Offless, who spearheaded the $500,000 Gretzky Project along with local businessman Barry English, said Tuesday he was not aware what words were actually engraved on the statue's depiction of the Cup.
“(The artist) told us he was putting gobbledygook and hen-scratching” where the team names and players would be, said Offless, adding that project organizers did not give prior approval to the rendition of the Stanley Cup as they had with the facial depictions of Wayne, Walter and Phyllis Gretzky.
In response to the errors, the artist has pledged to fix this mess by having the engravings replaced.
A statement from Oldham's studio said “no disrespect was intended” and that Oldham “extends his sincere apologies” for the random, but readable, mishmash of non-hockey references and factual errors engraved onto the statue's Cup.
The statement indicated that the original design called for an idea of “many, many names” on the trophy but that names were not intended to be viewed individually.
He did include names of several honorary people involved in the project but asked a studio employee to “Greek” the names. The employee wrote actual names, never intending for anyone to read them, the statement said.
Within a week, the artist claims, the names will no longer be readable.
Check out the Expositor for more pictures of the erroneous engravings.
- - - - - - -