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Dial back to June 2010. The Stanley Cup Finals were being played between the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers. Game 6, with the Blackhawks up 3 games to 2, went into overtime at the Wells Fargo Arena. A capacity crowd of 19,537 at the arena watched these events unfold. As did 3.1 million Americans(not to mention 4.7 million Canadians) from their TV sets. They all witnessed it as Patrick Kane scored a fluky goal and win the cup. The series was over. The puck was clearly in the net.
Except this is where the mystery begins.
That puck, the one that had cameras and thousands of eyeballs all over it, disappeared.
The Mystery Begins:
This isn’t just any puck. Not only was it the Stanley Cup winning puck, it’s also the puck that won the Chicago Blackhawks’ first Stanley Cup in 61 years. For an original six team, a cup drought like that was embarrassing. Not quite as embarrassing as the Red Sox world series drought from 1918 to 2004, but nothing is quite like the Red Sox.
So what happened?
Well, when the Stanley Cup is won, there’s excitement on the ice. First, the teams rush onto the ice. Then the camera men and sports reporters rush the ice to capture first interviews. Then the red carpet rolls out, and soon the Stanley Cup itself. Oh, and the Commissioner too I guess.
After that, the players circle the ice, taking turns holding the cup. And then there’s the team photo, where teammates all line up on the ice to take a photo.
And with all that going on, it’s assumed that somebody will go get the puck and give it to the winning team/scoring player.
Suspect #1: Steve Miller
When people first started realizing that the puck was missing, video and picture evidence of the scene show linesman Steve Miller as the first person to touch the puck. He took it off the ice, and then it completely disappeared. Steve Miller denies knowing who he handed it off to, or where it went afterwards. Miller was kept out of the next year’s playoffs, but was later reinstated.
That’s right. The FBI got involved soon afterwards. This requires some explanation. Grant DePorter, owner of ‘Harry Caray’s’ a famous Chicago sports-themed restaurant, offered up $50,000 for the famous puck. When it became apparent that the puck was missing, the $50,000 became a reward for finding the missing puck. DePorter, who had contacts in the FBI, was able to use their resources to help him investigate pictures and footage from the ‘scene of the crime’.
Despite collecting tons of evidence, the investigations did not come up with anything conclusive. There is no ‘smoking gun’ picture of anyone picking up the puck.
And that’s where the controversy stands today. TSN did a great documentary on the subject. I personally think Miller picked it up and gave it away. Whether he as paid by some shady Chicago ‘businessman’ for the puck, or he just handed it off to someone on the ice, well, you can just never know. Maybe if someone comes forth with a confession/explanation, then maybe we’ll get a better answer.
You can read more about the controversy here. You can also check out this site