TORONTO – There’s a puck from the 1901 Stanley Cup, the one Wayne Gretzky cashed in for his 802nd career goal and all three Bill Mosienko used 58 years ago to score an NHL-record hat trick in 21 seconds.
But there is no piece of vulcanized rubber in the Hockey Hall of Fame that will draw as much interest as the one Sidney Crosby scored with to earn Team Canada a gold medal at the Olympics.
The Crosby puck will be put on display at the Hall on Wednesday morning after a journey that saw it travel from Vancouver to Finland to Switzerland to Toronto. It should instantly become one of the museum’s top attractions.
The puck will be given a prominent place in a display that highlights Canada’s gold-medal victories in men’s and women’s hockey at the recent Games. It already includes the hockey pants Crosby wore throughout the Olympic tournament, a couple champagne bottles plucked from post-game celebrations and Brenden Morrow’s mouthguard, among other items.
There are currently a number of pucks on display throughout the Hall of Fame. The one from the 1901 Stanley Cup is kept behind glass in a second-floor vault while the others are mixed in with sticks, jerseys and other pieces of memorabilia.
One of the most prominent pucks in the collection is the one Maurice (Rocket) Richard used to score his 500th goal on Oct. 19, 1957 – the first NHL player ever to reach that milestone. There are also 500th goal pucks from Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull.
Gretzky’s puck for goal No. 802 is displayed along with his gloves, stick, helmet and the net it was scored into. That milestone goal pushed him past Howe into first place on the league’s all-time list.
The Hall does its best to collect pucks from a variety of championships, ranging from the Stanley Cup to Memorial Cup to gold-and bronze-medal games at the IIHF World Hockey Championships. It even has a couple goal pucks on display from the 2002 German League final.
The museum isn’t able to say exactly how many game-used pucks it currently has in the collection, but curators are always anxious to get their hands on any that become available.
There was a time when it looked like Crosby’s puck might not end up in the hockey shrine. It was presumed missing after the gold-medal game on Feb. 28, but eventually surfaced when Finnish linesman Stefan Fonselius turned it over to the International Ice Hockey Federation.
Now it joins the Stanley Cup and Lucky Loonie from the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics as must-see items on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
One puck that remains notably absent is the one Paul Henderson used to score the winning goal in Game 8 of the 1972 Summit Series. It’s exact whereabouts have long been a source of debate, but Canadian defenceman Pat Stapleton is believed to be in possession of it and recently told the New York Times he might offer it up to the Hall someday.