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Should The HHOF Return The Sweaters?

from Jennie Olsen of KSTP,

A Minnesota father and son who won Olympic gold medals 20 years apart want the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto to return their Olympic jerseys, but the organization claims it now owns the jerseys.

Bill Christian played on the 1960 gold-winning U.S. Olympic hockey team. His son, Dave Christian of Moorhead, was part of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. team that won Olympic gold.

The origin of the dispute goes back 30 years, WCCO-TV reported Thursday night. In 1981, Bill Christian got a call from Hockey Hall of Fame officials who wanted to display both Christians’ jerseys, which were hanging in a closet at Bill Christian’s home in Warroad.

Bill Christian said he believed he was only loaning the jerseys, “never dreaming they would be gone forever.” But the Hall of Fame has since told the Christians the jerseys now belong to the Hall.

Curator Phil Pritchard told WCCO that the Hall contends the jerseys were donated in 1981, “in a legally effective manner and they are now the property of the Hockey Hall of Fame.”


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redxblack's avatar

Pretty dickish behavior from HHoF! They really should return them to their proper owners.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 10/28/11 at 11:01 AM ET


Dave Christain’s sweater was not his father’s to give away, so that one is cut and dried. This is a bad precedent set by the Hall, if I were a hockey playe that acheived a significant milestone, I would think twice before allowing them to display any of my memorabilia.

In Bill Christian’s case, did he write the donation off on his taxes? It is one more indication that if he didn’t he didnn’t believe he had donated it. He is not a lwayer, ut he is a businessman. Is the Hall still displaying his sweater, since if it was donated it was distinctly so that it could be displayed. If they are keeping it in mothballs then they may as well give it back. A letter from the Hall is not a binding contract unless Bill Christian signed it. I can send in ten pounds of fan mail saying I own Gretzky’s Canada Cup jersey and it doesn’t mean it is true if he doesn’t respond.

In the HHOF favor, possession is 9/10s, 30 years is a long time to wait to make a claim and if it comes up in Canadian courts it will probably defer to the Hall as the custodian of hockey.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 10/28/11 at 11:24 AM ET

awould's avatar

Absurd. Every hockey player should boycott the HHOF until they do right by these two. Unless they can furnish a signed document stating they were donations and not loaners, they should give them back.

Posted by awould on 10/28/11 at 02:45 PM ET


I agree HHOF is being selfish. Wonder what the outrage would be if a Summit Series “sweater” were being handled like this. The outrage in the Great White North would be deafening.  Speaking of sweater, remember the rule Paul:

Should The HHOF Return The Sweaters?

When talking about an American uniform it is a “jersey” when talking about cardigans and pullovers, made of angorra or alpaca or any Canadian uniform it is of course a lovely “sweater”.

Posted by timbits on 10/28/11 at 04:57 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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