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First $500,000 card in hockey's future?

Gretzky rookie from 1979-80 may be the one
May 29, 2016 5:56 P.M.

Have you ever owned a Wayne Gretzky rookie card? That would be an O-Pee-Chee No. 18 from 1979-80. I had one back in the day. Sold it for $99. Now comes news from goldinauctions.com that their Aug. 4 Summer Live Auction will include the only Gretzky rookie card ever graded PSA GEM MT 10. PSA has graded 3,727 of these cards and has graded nine as MINT 9, but only one as a MINT 10. According to Ken Goldin, the founder of Goldin Auctions, “The average sales for a PSA 9 Gretzky has increased 600 per cent in the past five years. If this card were to see a similar increase, it might become hockey’s first $500,000 trading card.” . . . That’s a far cry from $99. . . .

In Colombia, Alexis Garcia, the coach of the Inedpendiente Sante Fe soccer team, drew a three-game suspension for poking a ball boy in the eyes. Garcia was upset because his guys had a 1-0 lead and, in his estimation, the ball boy was too quick to get balls back into play. Later, Garcia told reporters: “I stuck out my hand and the kid came (at me) with his face.” . . . At least Garcia didn’t accuse the kid of diving. . . . A condom commercial on Sportsnet during a Friday Memorial Cup hockey game at 6:57 p.m. Pacific time. At what demographic is that aimed? . . .

Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, claimed early in the week that there was “kind of a surfeit of riches in the S.F. Bay Area, with the Warriors and Sharks in the playoff semifinals, and the Giants in first place. Fortunately for fans of humility, the 49ers’ training camp is right around the corner.” . . . Hough also has an “open note to S.F. Bay Area fans who are unused to this sort of thing. The Stanley Cup is not something you wear for protection from Draymond Green.” . . . One more from Hough: “Apparently, after leaving office, President Obama and his family are renting a $6.4-million dollar house in a nice D.C. neighborhood. Good thing they didn’t decide on relocating in San Francisco; for that price they’d have gotten about a two-bedroom apartment.” . . .

You can bet that Gary Bettman’s NHL was hoping it would have Monday to itself as the San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins open the Stanley Cup final in Steeltown. . . . Whoops! . . . The Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors will play Game 7 of their enthralling NBA Western Conference final on Monday night. . . . The NHL game starts at 5 p.m. Pacific, with the NBA game scheduled for 6. . . . There are hockey fans out there who don’t like the Vancouver Canucks’ acquisition of defenceman Erik Gudbranson, who isn’t a fancy stats favourite, from the Florida Panthers. But all you need to know is that he’s mean and he averaged 25 minutes in Florida’s six playoff games this season. . . .

“The weak Canadian dollar could hurt the NHL by as much as US$200 million,” reports Bill Littlejohn, our South Lake Tahoe, Calif., correspondent. “But not as much as a Sharks-Lightning Stanley Cup final would have.” . . . Littlejohn, again: “Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City was really shaking on Tuesday night. Some say it was due to the crowd cheering on the Thunder against the Golden State Warriors — others say it was due to fracking.” . . . A note from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Russian Olympic high-jumper Anna Chicherova said she’s shocked at her recent failed doping test. Not as shocked as the stadium crowd after she cleared the left-field bleachers.” . . .

Headline at SportsPickle.com: Warriors monitoring Draymond Green’s foot after brutal attack by Steven Adams’ groin. . . . Is there something wrong when I don’t care one way or the other about the World Cup of Hockey? . . .   Ken Campbell of The Hockey News is calling it the World Cash Grab of Hockey and he isn’t wrong. . . . I care even less when P.K. Subban isn’t on Canada’s team. . . . After Exaggerator won the Preakness by 3½ lengths, comedy writer Alex Kaseberg pointed out: “Of course, he said he won by seven lengths.” . . .

The NFL is considering taking its Pro Bowl from Honolulu to Orlando. As Greg Cote of the Miami Herald put it: “What a perfect destination for a Mickey Mouse event!” . . . “A worker at the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship smashed a golf cart into a fire hydrant, touching off a water gusher,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Elin Nordegren, simply out of habit, came charging at him wielding a nine-iron.” . . . “The average urban dweller in Kenya pays up to 16 bribes a month, according to Transparency International,” Perry notes. “Or, as Nairobi residents now lovingly refer to their city, Little FIFA.”

(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at greggdrinnan@gmail.com and twitter.com/gdrinnan. Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)

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