Last Gretzky-worn jersey sells for record price

    Hajducky is an associate editor for ESPN. He has an MFA in creative writing from Fairfield University and played on the men’s soccer teams at Fordham and Southern Connecticut State universities.

The autographed last NHL jersey ever worn by Wayne Gretzky sold for $715,120 with Grey Flannel Auctions on Sunday night.

It was the highest sale price for a U.S.-based hockey jersey, eclipsing Mike Eruzione’s 1980 “Miracle On Ice” jersey that sold for $657,250 in 2013.

Gretzky wore the record-setting No. 99 jersey while scoring his 2,857th and final NHL point as a member of the New York Rangers on April 18, 1999. No other player in NHL history has reached 2,000 points.

The jersey was displayed in Madison Square Garden’s “Defining Moments” Museum from 2016 to 2019, but this auction is the first time it was offered publicly, including a photo-matched letter from authenticator MeiGray and Rangers-letterheaded testimony from John Rosasco, the former and longest-serving head of communications in Rangers history supporting the jersey’s veracity.

It’s also the third most expensive hockey jersey of all-time, behind Gretzky’s final Edmonton Oilers jersey ($1.452 million, also with Grey Flannel Auctions) and Paul Henderson’s Canada national team jersey worn during the 1972 Summit Series against the USSR ($1.275 million in 2010).

There have been only 50 seasons of 130-plus points in NHL history; Gretzky posted 13 and only three other players (Mario Lemieux, Phil Esposito and Marcel Dionne with six, four and three, respectively) have more than three. Gretzky also has 11 of the 13 100-plus assist seasons in NHL history; his 1,963 career assists are 714 more than Ron Francis’ second-place total.

Gretzky retired in 1999 and was immediately inducted into hockey’s Hall of Fame in Toronto, an hour and a half southwest of his hometown of Brantford. He became the 10th player in NHL history to bypass the three-year waiting period.

Gretzky remains only the third athlete to have his number retired league-wide, preceded by Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 in Major League Baseball and joined by Bill Russell’s No. 6 in the NBA after his death last July.

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