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    The earliest known gamer of The Great One, with ironclad provenance

    1974 Wayne Gretzky's 1000th Goal of His Lifetime Game Used Stick.

    "Wayne Gretzky got the puck inside the Waterford blueline and let go with a slapshot. The Waterford goalie got a piece of the puck but not enough to stop it from going into the net. Players rushed onto the ice and the game was held up for several minutes. Gretzky had scored his 1000th career goal."

    So begins a rather lengthy article in the April 11, 1974 edition of "The Expositor, Brantford (Ontario)" newspaper, a story that might appear rather quaint in its lionization of a child still short of puberty, but of course now seems entirely reasonable with the hindsight of Gretzky's peerless career at our disposal.

    The very fact that such a tally was calculated from young Wayne's cautious first steps on the ice as a toddler should provide some indication of the grooming that went into Gretzky's rise to power. It's a remarkable testament to the Gretzky family's obsession with the sport, as only the perfect brew of "nature and nurture" could have spawned the greatest talent the sport had ever seen. The path had begun when Wayne was just two years old, on a rink in the family's backyard named "Wally Coliseum" after his father Walter. At age six he was dominating ten year olds on the ice, staying true to his dad's mantra: "Skate where the puck is going, not where it's been." Always playing at a level years above his age, little Wayne tucked the oversized sweaters he was issued into his pants on the right side, a habit he continued throughout his NHL career.

    Never before in auction history has such a seminal artifact of Gretzky's development been made available to his legions of fans and collectors, the KOHO Champion Hook stick predating by three years the oldest model in our comprehensive results database. The stick comes to us from the son of Ron St. Amand, the coach of the Brantford Turkstra Lumber squad for which Wayne flipped the fourth digit on his goal-scoring odometer. In the included team photograph we find St. Amand standing next to the diminutive Great One, who wears the captain's "C" on his jersey in the back row. Further provenance is supplied in the form of March 25, 1974 contract paperwork signed by both St. Amand and Gretzky (carbon copies) for a three-hour radio interview with the young phenom and his coach. Each was paid fifty dollars for his participation.

    The stick itself perfectly matches the supplied screen grab from a video of the historic April 10, 1974 contest, exhibiting solid use with a small chip on the end of the blade, featuring a mild curve to match Gretzky's left-handed style. His boyish autograph appears in 9/10 blue ink on the shaft, notated with a simple "1000th" in his hand, celebrating seven years' domination of the Brantford youth leagues.

    The difficulty of Gretzky game used material is legendary in the collecting hobby, but no supply could possibly keep pace with the tremendous demand. But even if this were not the case, this remarkable milepost of one of the greatest careers in sports history would distinguish itself as something truly special. Letter of provenance from son of Gretzky's coach. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication (Gretzky autograph on stick).


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2013
    1st-2nd Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 15,663

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