Summit Series icon gets record price

MONTREAL -- It's a historic hockey jersey, now with a historic price tag.

Paul Henderson's legendary 1972 hockey sweater fetched more than $1 million at an auction following a late surge of interest. Its new Canadian owner on Wednesday promised to bring it home from the United States.

The final price makes the jersey Henderson wore when he scored Canada's winning goal in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviets perhaps the most paid for a hockey sweater.

The winning bid smashes what's thought to be the record -- $191,200 for a Bobby Orr rookie jersey. It is also more than four times the $250,000 that a few of Wayne Gretzky's jerseys had fetched in private sales.

A flurry of bids late Tuesday culminated in a winning offer of $1,067,538 submitted by Mitchell Goldhar, the owner of SmartCentres, a private real-estate development company based in Vaughan, Ontario, north of Toronto.

"I am pleased and proud to bring this important piece of Canadian history home," Goldhar said in a statement. "As a lifelong hockey fan I know what Paul Henderson's winning goal against the Russians in 1972 means to all Canadians."

Once the auction fees were factored in, the final price to be paid by Goldhar is actually $1.275 million.

Goldhar said the sweater will be sent on a national tour. He plans to make arrangements for it to be displayed in museums, including the Hockey Hall of Fame, to ensure as many Canadians as possible see it.

After the '72 series, Henderson gave the jersey to Team Canada's trainer Joe Sgro as a gift, and Sgro later sold it. It most recently belonged to an unidentified private American collector.

The sweater's previous owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a cancer survivor and apparently plans to donate some of the proceeds of the sale to charity. Henderson himself was diagnosed with cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, last fall.

Marc Juteau, president of Montreal area-based Classic Auctions, says Goldhar's bid was the 42nd entered for the 38-year-old red and white jersey.