Wayne Gretzky’s stick from 1988 Stanley Cup Finals title-clincher sells for $336K

Wayne Gretzky hockey stick

The stick used by Wayne Gretzky in the Edmonton Oilers title-clinching game in the 1988 Stanley Cup Finals sold for $336,000 on Friday, setting an auction record for any NHL-used hockey stick.

Sotheby’s conducted the sale and said that there were 22 bidders for the signed and inscribed stick, which was the last one used by The Great One in Edmonton, ESPN reported. There were 79 total bids for the stick, used in the Oilers’ title-clinching game on May 26, 1988, according to the cable sports news outlet. That was Gretzky’s fourth and final Stanley Cup title with Edmonton, as the Oilers swept the Boston Bruins to capture Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Friday’s sale tops the previous record of $138,600, set in 2022 for another one of Gretzky’s game-used sticks, Sports Collectors Daily reported. That was from his final career game with the New York Rangers in 1994.

The sale in the Sotheby’s auction is fortuitous, as the Oilers are on the brink of becoming only the second team to win a Stanley Cup Final after falling behind 3-0 in the series to the Florida Panthers, ESPN reported. Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs pulled off that comeback, rebounding to defeat the Detroit Red Wings. Three years later the Red Wings nearly returned the favor, but the Maple Leafs held on to win Game 7 of the 1945 final.

The stick sold in Friday’s auction was photo-matched by MeiGray, ESPN reported. James Spence Authentication certified the signature, which reads: “To Rick, Best Wishes, Wayne Gretzky, May 26th, 1988.”

The stick also carries Gretzky’s identification stamp on the opposite side of his autograph, according to Sports Collectors Daily.

Sotheby’s confirmed to ESPN that the stick was originally part of the personal collection of Rick “The Stick” Elaschuk of Edmonton. Elaschuk was a longtime employee of the Oilers, according to the sports news outlet.

Less than three months after the Oilers’ title-clinching victory, Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings, one of the biggest blockbuster deals in NHL history.

Items featuring Gretzky have fetched top dollar through the years. In June 2022, his jersey from the 1988 title-clinching game sold for $1.452 million through Grey Flannel Auctions, according to Sports Collectors Daily. It was a record price paid for a hockey jersey.

Gretzky’s gloves from that game sold for $204,162, ESPN reported.

In May 2021, one of the two PSA 10-graded Gretzky O-Pee-Chee rookie cards offered by Heritage Auctions netted $3.75 million, according to Sports Collectors Daily. The sale of the gem-mint card is still a record for a hockey card.

Gretzky scored three goals and had 10 assists during the 1988 Finals, a record that has not been broken, ESPN reported.

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