January 09, 2009
There's an interesting second chapter being written to that story we posted on Wednesday, in which 14-year-old hockey fan Kalan Plew was given a stick by Detroit Red Wings star Henrik Zetterberg after the Winter Classic before getting snookered out of it by "a man dressed like a security guard" at Wrigley Field.
The bad news is that the human garbage that stole the kid's stick appears to have actually profited off of it. But there is good news, according to a letter forwarded to Puck Daddy and written by a guy who allegedly purchased the stick -- in a Wrigley Field bathroom, no less.
That good news being that the young fan might actually get his game-used Classic stick after all.
Puck Daddy reader Julie has a neighbor who unknowingly made himself a part of this Winter Classic stick-stealing story, which was first written about in the Chicago Tribune's trouble-shooting column this week. She forwarded us a letter to the editor her friend sent to the Chicago Tribune, which explains his role in this tale.
John Hahn of the Red Wings confirmed that the team was forwarded the letter from the paper, and are aware of the story.
(We chatted with Julie this afternoon, and she said that the writer wanted to keep his name and residence anonymous for now; the Wings said the author is from North Carolina).
The letter, warts and all, to John Yates at the Tribune:
I have a Winter Classic story that just might be very interesting to you and your readers.
I live in ******** . And I had the good fortune to go to Wrigley Field and see the Hawks. The plane tickets, hotel room and game tickets cost a fortune, but I grew up just outside Chicago and my wife just outside Detroit . I like all the major sports. My wife, Lori, loves one, hockey and her team is the Detroit Red Wings. It has been a tough pill for me to swallow for eighteen years. I had my [Chicago Blackhawks] jersey on. She had her Wings jersey on. We had the greatest day, the people were all so happy and festive the game was great. I said it, that day was worth it all. Then it happened.
I wanted to stop at the bathroom before we got back on the red line. While I was in the bathroom, I started talking to a security guard, with a blue jacket, and a white hat holding a hockey stick. I said, hey I'll buy that stick from you. (He didn't look much like a hockey fan). He said not this stick, its Henrick Zetterberg's (sic.); I'm selling it on eBay. I said, you won't sell that on eBay. It will end up in your apartment or house collecting dust. That's my wife's favorite player I'll double my offer. And The Stick was Mine.
I rushed out of the mens room, just like I had scored the Hawks first goal with that stick high over my head. My wife was wide eyed as I presented her with the souvenir of all souvenirs. We showed it to everybody inside and outside the stadium. The other fans and I flexed it and shot every piece of liter we could find (carefully of coarse, that was Henrick's game stick) I carried that stick on the train, down Michigan Ave , it's even been in the John Hancock building. I think everybody I know has heard about that stick and half of ***** has seen it. Then my friend from Detroit called tonight and sent me to your Tribune link. This must be that boys souvenir not mine.
I am so proud of Chicago! I wear some sort of Cubs, Bears, or Hawks clothing every single weekend. I love the people and fans of Chicago and I think some of my friends here are even jealous they aren't from there.
The bottom line, however is that Henrick gave that stick to Kalan not me. Maybe he would like to trade his new stick for an Official Game Used Winter Classic Stick. But if not, that's OK!
Jon, would you help me get this stick back to its rightful owner. Hey Kalan, there are bad people, but the United States is filled with far more good ones. Enjoy your stick buddy and keep loving hockey.
Julie offered a quick update on what's happened after her friend's admission. First, she said the Chicago Tribune is expected to follow up with him about this story, so one can assume we'll know his identity when that story is published.
She also thought the Red Wings were going to put the young fan in touch with the author, but the Wings told us it'll be the paper that does it, if it's anyone. The Wings, remember, already sent Kalan Plew a replacement stick from Zetterberg.
Sounds like what was a really rotten tale from the Winter Classic is going to have a very unexpected happy ending.