We hockey collectors are always looking for the next best thing to add to our collection. Have you got a signed Gretzky puck? That’s cool, I just added press credentials from the 1995 Stanley Cup Final to my collection. We are not the same.
While going on a deep dive through eBay looking for the next unique addition, I found something that might pique the interest of more than a few fan bases.
Currently on eBay is a signed typed letter from Commissioner Gary Bettman to head coach Mike Keenan congratulating him on his 500th win. Keenan reached the mark with the Vancouver Canucks back during the 1998-1999 season.
A signed letter from Gary Bettman is available to collectors.
Keenan, much like the commissioner, is a somewhat controversial figure in hockey circles. He’s beloved by New York Rangers fans for ending their 54-year Cup drought in 1994.
He also left the team immediately that offseason to claim the same job with the St. Louis Blues and has bounced around in the KHL a few times as well. More enduring is his “Iron Mike” reputation of not getting along with his players and front offices.
Keenan’s other claim to fame is being the only head coach to win a championship at both the NHL and KHL levels.
We don’t need to tell you Gary Bettman is controversial. He’s the man hockey fans love to boo. Even if he’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame, his track record of lockouts has led to him being public enemy number one for the NHL faithful.
All that aside, it’s still cool to see an actual memo between two influential hockey men that originated from the NHL itself at NHL headquarters.
The text of the letter has Bettman explaining that Keenan called him once “at 4:00 am”. Bettman doesn’t go into detail about what the phone call was about. Then again, knowing Keenan’s nature, we might not want to know.
This interesting piece of NHL history can be yours for the small price of $550. If you are a fan of the Canucks, who Keenan was coaching at the time, it might have a little more value since it includes your favorite team.
If you’re a Colorado Avalanche fan, who the Canucks beat that night, it’s probably worthless.
For comparison, Mike Keenan’s autograph goes for around $12-$175 (for a signed New York Rangers Stanley Cup championship stein) on eBay while Bettman’s goes for around $25. For the record, only Bettman signed the letter.