A week after Sidney Crosby’s missing Olympic equipment was located, the IIHF can announce that another piece of memorabilia has been successfully retrieved – Crosby’s game-winning goal puck from overtime of the gold-medal game. It will be shipped to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
“The IIHF is proud to help ensure that this valuable piece of hockey history will hold an honoured place for all to see it and to remember where they were and what they felt at the exact moment the goal was scored,” said IIHF President René Fasel. “The IIHF has a long standing relationship with the Hockey Hall of Fame and I am very pleased that VANOC joined us in donating the game-winning puck to the Hall.”
Two missing-artifacts dramas unfolded simultaneously during the days after February 28 when Sidney Crosby scored the goal which in Canada had almost the same impact as Paul Henderson’s Summit Series winner some 38 years earlier.Click here
for the joint IIHF/VANOC news release regarding donation of the puck.
As Hockey Canada, VANOC, and the IIHF were all working together to locate the scorer’s stick and one glove, the IIHF and its partners was tracing other leads in order to find the puck which Crosby so deftly swept between U.S. goalie Ryan Miller’s pads and into the back of the net at 7:40 of the Olympic gold-medal game overtime.
Just as with the stick and the glove, the puck seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth.
“Together with the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, we had our usual post big-game puck-retrieving routine in place,” said IIHF Communications Director Szymon Szemberg, who also acts as the secretary of the IIHF Historical Committee which keeps close ties with the Hall in Toronto.
“But after extraordinary events, extraordinary things happen. And in all the commotion and excitement that followed this defining goal, we simply lost our routine and – to a certain extent – our composure. We readily admit it,” said Szemberg.
When the IIHF and Hockey Hall of Fame’s curator and “keeper of the Stanley Cup” Phil Pritchard realized that the puck was gone, a thorough search started which included all the investigative elements used by Hockey Canada when looking for Crosby’s missing equipment, the stick and one glove.
The IIHF studied replays of the moments after the goal and even fan-videos posted on YouTube.
“The Hockey Hall of Fame worked all North American links while the IIHF followed leads to Europe,” said Szemberg. “The last thing we wanted was this to become another 1972 Paul Henderson’s goal puck mystery from Moscow.”
The puck with which Henderson decided the legendary eight-game series versus the Soviet Union with 34 seconds left of Game 8 was never found, although persistent rumours claim that Team Canada defenseman Pat Stapleton, who was on the ice when Henderson scored, grabbed the historic puck, a treasure he supposedly preserves at home to this day.
“It is a pity when a treasure that can attract so many hockey fans to the Hall becomes private property,” said Pritchard. “We are extremely happy that our joint efforts resulted in locating the puck and that it is on its way to the Hall of Fame in Toronto.”
That the puck didn’t follow the pre-determined path was simply a result of the general turmoil which occurred after the goal. The IIHF, VANOC and the Hockey Hall of Fame don’t wish to disclose what happened to the puck between Crosby’s goal and the present day.
In the celebrations and tumult of media attention and post-game activities, various officials who had possession of the puck could not immediately identify the appropriate person to hand it off to and so safeguarded it until it could be handed over directly to the IIHF last week.
“It is still a sensitive thing and we don’t want people to think that someone who was part of the puck retrieving chain kept it on purpose,” said Szemberg. It was a matter of oversight and absent-mindedness, and we have 100 percent trust that this was the case. Us knowing and trusting the relevant people is also the reason why we are entirely positive that this is the actual puck.”
“Maybe down the road the time will be right to tell what is actually a very funny,but also an innocent story. And the place where the puck was stuck, virtually guarantees that this is the Crosby puck.”
For now, though, all that matters is that the historic artifact is on its way to the place where hockey history is best preserved and exhibited – the Hockey Hall of Fame.