Before he moved to Edmonton and began pocketing Stanley Cups and MVP awards, Wayne Gretzky was a teenage prodigy, just getting his feet wet in professional hockey.
Indianapolis wasn’t exactly a hotbed for the sport and the troubles associated with a fledgling league like the World Hockey Association made for a short life for the Racers franchise. It’s telling that only a small number of tickets and stubs from the 1978-79 season exist today, but a remarkable group of six stubs from The Great One’s earliest milestones are about to hit the auction block.
Gretzky’s preseason and regular season debuts and the game in which he scored his first professional goals are part of a group set to be offered in the Heritage Auctions Fall Sports Catalog. All have been authenticated and graded by PSA.
Included in the lot:
- A PSA VG 3 stub from the September 23rd Blue vs. White Intra-Squad game in which Gretzky competed as a professional for the first time. The stub is the only specimen in the PSA population at any grade level. Attendance was minimal and most fans likely tossed theirs away.
- A PSA 5 stub from Gretzky’s preseason Racers debut in an Oct. 6, 1978 game against the St. Louis Blues. Gretzky recorded an assist in a 4-1 win. Also a 1/1.
- A PSA 7 stub from Gretzky’s second preseason game in which he recorded a goal and two assists against the Birmingham Bulls. This stub, too, is the lone example on the PSA Population Report.
- A PSA 4 stub from his regular season debut on Oct. 14, 1978 against the Winnipeg Jets. The Racers folded just over three weeks later. One of only two known examples from Gretzky’s regular season WHA debut. The cost to watch Gretzky’s professional debut? Eight bucks.
- A PSA 4 stub from an October 20 meeting with the Oilers that resulted in Gretzky’s first and second professional goals. Once again, this is the only known stub from the contest in the hobby.
- A PSA 6 stub from the Oct. 22, 1978 game against the visiting New England Whalers that saw Gretzky elevate his professional career goal tally to three. Like almost all of the stubs in the collection, this is the only example in the full PSA population.
The six stubs carry a pre-sale estimate of $150,000.
Bidding is set to open Oct. 27.