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The case of the missing stick Add to ...

The Great Train Robbery. The Brinks Robbery. The theft of the Mona Lisa . And now the case of Sidney Crosby's missing glove and hockey stick. Misplaced or stolen?

Once again, Hockey Canada did all it could yesterday to locate the glove and stick that disappeared soon after Crosby scored last Sunday's Olympic gold-medal-clinching goal at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. Officials went through game video, examined photographs, put out calls and chased a handful of leads. And, once again, the search came up empty.

"There is a slight chance we'll find it," said Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada's director of the men's national team. "But at this point, we don't have any really great leads. … We haven't located it. It's missing."

You'd think it would be easy to keep tabs on the players' joy-strewn equipment, given there were almost 20,000 eyewitnesses in attendance and another 22 million watching on television. But the aftermath of Crosby's overtime goal against the United States created an unparalleled chaos, Salmond said.

The equipment men rushed onto the ice once the goal was scored and began herding all the helmets, gloves and sticks to the Canadian bench. Even the coaches scooped up the gear and placed it in plastic bins in the hallway outside the Canadian team's dressing room. The equipment was then put back in each player's stall.

Simple, right? Apparently not.

"What happened in that case was a little out of whack," Salmond explained. "On the ice, the doors where the Zamboni was were opened and people came out for the closing ceremonies right away. We've gone through the videos and photos and we can see volunteers pushing equipment away."

But how does someone walk out of that arena and out into the crowded streets of Vancouver without anyone noticing they're carrying a hockey stick and wearing only one glove?

"The difference with that goal is that not many were watching it. They were busy celebrating it," Salmond deduced. "During that whole scene, it seems someone was able to grab a glove and stick. We're hoping someone returns it because they can't do anything with it. You can't even tell your friends you have it."

Craig Campbell, the manager of resource centre archives at the Hockey Hall of Fame, was asked how significant Crosby's stick is compared to others displayed there, such as the stick Paul Henderson used to score the Summit Series-clinching goal in 1972.

"Obviously, this one is very current. And due to the Olympics being in Canada and just the way the game played out and was finished by Crosby's shot, it's a very significant goal for Canadian hockey history," Campbell said. "This will be a game that … people will remember where they were."

As for its financial worth, assuming the stick's new owner wants to risk making a deal, Hockey Hall of Fame vice-president Phil Pritchard had a succinct response: "It'd be huge."

So until those "special Olympic items used by Sidney Crosby" appear on e-Bay.com, be on the lookout for: One hockey glove, black with red trim, comes with four fingers and a thumb; and a hockey stick with a black blade made by Reebok.

Just don't bother looking for the golden-goal puck. Hockey Canada believes it was picked up by one of the on-ice officials and is now the property of the International Ice Hockey Federation, which oversaw the Olympic tournament. With reports from Hayley Mick

 

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