1979 Wayne Gretzky Multi-Signed Rookie WHA Player's Contract....
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|Auction Ended On:||Feb 23, 2013|
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Ukrainian Institute of America at The Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion
2 East 79th Street
New York, NY 10075
The fact that the presented contract was executed on Gretzky's eighteenth birthday, the very first hours of his official adulthood, should illustrate just how intently the Edmonton Oilers wished to secure the services of the young superstar. The Oilers brass had reason to be wary. As it became apparent that Gretzky's previous WHA team, the Indianapolis Racers, were drowning in red ink, their team owner Nelson Skalbania jockeyed for the best deal for the release of his golden boy. Gretzky, goalie Eddie Mio and forward Peter Driscoll were put on a private jet, not knowing where they would land and what team they would join. As the plane flew, Skalbania challenged Winnipeg Jets owner Michael Gobuty to a high-stakes game of backgammon, wagering Gretzky against a share of Jets ownership. Gobuty refused, and the plane landed in Edmonton.
After lengthy negotiation, the terms that are represented within this document were finalized, a deal which was both the longest in hockey history (at ten years) and the most lucrative (at $3 million). The standard "World Hockey Association Player's Contract" (the Oilers would merge with the NHL the following season) is comprised of four legal-size pages, signed at the close by Gretzky, general manager L.D. Gordon, and two witnesses. Gretzky and Gordon jointly initial fifteen separate clauses on these pages.
Following is a three-page "Addendum," detailing Gretzky's compensation over the coming years, and addressing various issues running the gamut from a company car to transferability of the contract. The same four gentlemen sign on the last page here as well. Finally, six photocopied pages appear, largely restating the terms of the addendum. Gretzky and Gordon's signatures on the final page are photocopied as well.
The final component of this thrilling and historic archive is the cover letter for the packet as it was sent by Gordon to Ron Ryan, Executive Director of the WHA, directing him to the contracts for Gretzky and a new teammate enclosed within. All documents display minor handling wear, but certainly nothing that could reasonably be characterized as damage. All ink is as bold as the date of application, a red letter day in the annals of hockey history if there ever was one. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.
1979 Wayne Gretzky Multi-Signed Rookie WHA Player's Contract.
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