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THE CONDITION REPORT, PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION AND PROVENANCE HAVE BEEN UPDATED AND EXPANDED – PLEASE READ THE DESCRIPTION THOROUGHLY.
By the time he was 12 years-old and playing in the prestigious International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament in Quebec City’s Le Colisee, Wayne Gretzky was already so famous that he was besieged routinely by autograph seekers in every rink he played in. At age 15, he tried to get his team, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, to assign him jersey number 9 in honor of his favorite player, Gordie Howe. But 9 belonged to a veteran player, so Gretzky was given number 19 and, a few weeks later, number 99.
At 17 he turned pro with the World Hockey Association’s Indianapolis Racers who quickly traded him to the Edmonton Oilers, where he was allowed to keep uniform number 99. In 1979, Gretzky made his NHL debut. Many thought he would fade when he started getting banged around in the more physical league. They thought wrong.
No one ever had seen a player like Gretzky. Though he was barely 6-0 and 155 pounds, Gretzky’s raptorial quickness to the puck, instinct for the creation and exploitation of space and darting elusiveness made him virtually unstoppable. Over the next two decades, Wayne Gretzky lifted the sport of hockey to new and dizzying heights while establishing himself as the game’s all-time greatest player. He had an unprecedented 15 seasons with more than 100 points, and four with more than 200. Gretzky’s dominance simply made the record book obsolete. His numbers prove that he is the most statistically dominant player in the history of North American team sports.
This incredible road blue knit gamer by Sandow SK dates from Wayne Gretzky’s second season with Edmonton and is generally regarded as the finest Gretzky game jersey in the hobby. The first half of the 1980-81 season saw the Edmonton Oilers wear these solid knit Sandow SK made jerseys. The team then switched sets to a heavy mesh gamer, also made by Sandow SK, for the 2nd half of the 1980-81 season. The jersey has the Oilers crest sewn on front, #99 sewn on the back and sleeves and the "Alberta 75th Anniversary" patch sewn on shoulder. The Sandow Knit tag appears in the neck noting size “XL”. The jersey shows light but definite game use with several pucks and stick marks and very good inside pilling.
This jersey traces back to a veteran collector in Edmonton, Alberta who had been collecting game worn hockey jerseys since the 1970's. He personally obtained it directly from the Edmonton Oilers back in 1981 as part of a team set of game worn jerseys.
A photo sourced from Getty Images (#85129484) shows a close up of Gretzky on the bench wearing this jersey while sitting next to Mark Messier. Notable matchpoints include the “G” on the nameplate, which is positioned slightly below the other letters in the name. The unique style of the “G” font exactly matches a 1980-81 Hagman jersey that was part of the famed Peter Pocklington collection of Oilers jerseys authenticated by MeiGray. The Getty image also shows a distinctive pattern of puckering on the left numeral ”9” that can be exactly matched to the offered jersey. The double tackle twill Gretzky name plate shown in the Getty image also matches this jersey with regard to the small spacing on the openings on the inner part of the “G” and the larger opening on the top portion of the “R” and the very small opening on the bottom of the “R”. These characteristics exactly match the lettering on the jersey itself.
An additional photomatch comes from an autographed shot of Gretzky from the front that reveals identical puckering on the Oilers emblem. This same frontal view photo also shows identical positioning of the “99” sleeve numbers. These sleeve numbers are positioned to extend down to the bottom portion of the white sleeve stripes.
The provenance and physical attributes of this extraordinary 1980-81 Wayne Gretzky gamer have been verified by a committee of the most revered experts in the field of hockey memorabilia. After more than a dozen years of seclusion in an advanced private collection, SCP Auctions is privileged to offer this monumental hockey treasure. In addition to the photomatches, a slew of accompanying documentation is presented here. Includes LOAs from, MeiGray, Classic Auctions, Milt Byron, Brad Foote and others.