The Hockey Hall of Fame believes it has the puck Wayne Gretzky used to break Gordie Howe's NHL career points record of 1,850 early in the 1989 season.
Hockey Hall of Fame president Jeff Denomme said yesterday that when the Hall knew a record was possible former president Ian (Scotty) Morrison, travelled with the Los Angeles Kings for a week in 1989 to make sure that the fabled hockey museum and NHL institution got the record-breaking puck.
"We knew we had to do something special and, with Wayne's blessing, Scotty followed the team and collected not only the record-setting puck, but the pucks that led up to the record," Denomme said. Those pucks "all game-used pucks" are part of a clock-face display, he said.
He said that the Hall is not in negotiations for other pucks -- purported to include the record-setting rubber -- bought at auction last month by Calgary businessman Sandy Edmonstone.
Edmonstone bought pucks at an auction for about $50,000 from Marc Juteau's Montreal-based Classic Auctions. Timekeeper Don Whidden said he received the puck from a linesman after the goal, put tape around it and placed it with three other pucks in his briefcase. He signed an affidavit to that effect. He gave one of the pucks to the Oilers -- according to the Hall not the record-setter -- and kept the others safe at home, Whidden said.
Denomme says is possible that there was a mix-up or a substitution of the record-setting puck. "But it's highly unlikely that the timekeeper would not know what the Hockey Hall of Fame was up to," in collecting the puck, Denomme said.
"From our point of view, we haven't seen a legal document in the Classic Auctions description of the item that they sold (as the record-breaking puck)," Denomme said.
It's the second time this month that Gretzky's name has come up in the world of sport memorabilia.
The Great One's NHL rookie card fetched $94,163 U,S. in online bidding, a price that organizer SCP Auctions says is the highest price ever paid for a hockey card.