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1972-73 Gary Kurt WHA New York Raiders Game Worn Jersey - Inaugural Season - The Twin Cities WHA Find
Lot #5

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1972-73 Gary Kurt WHA New York Raiders Game Worn Jersey - Inaugural Season - The Twin Cities WHA Find
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1972-73 Gary Kurt WHA New York Raiders Game Worn Jersey - Inaugural Season - The Twin Cities WHA Find
Lot #5

This fresh to the hobby example is part of an exciting find of newly discovered WHA jerseys that were recently sourced from the Twin Cities. This collection is being offered to the hobby for the first time via the Fall 2019 Auction, exclusively at GAMEWORNAUCTIONS.NET.

This road orange dureen gamer by Wilson was worn by Goaltender Gary Kurt during the 1972-73 WHA season, the New York Raiders inaugural year. Kurt made his NHL debut with the California Golden Seals in 1971-72 and then became an original member of the WHA’s New York franchise, beginning his career in 1972-73 with the New York Raiders. During that inaugural WHA season, amidst ownership default and assumption by the league, this Goalie partook in 36 games between the pipes for the Raiders. The following season was another tumultuous one for the team and players. They had been rebranded the New York Golden Blades and were under new ownership while still playing in the high rent district at Madison Square Garden. Ownership again defaulted and the league again assumed stewardship, this time just 24 games into the season. At that point the New York Golden Blades became a footnote in history as the franchise was relocated to Cherry Hill, NJ and were rebranded the Jersey Knights. Kurt would later go on to join the Phoenix Roadrunners for their inaugural season in the league, 1974-75, and he remained their man between the pipes for all three of their WHA seasons before retiring after the 1976-77 campaign.

This exceedingly rare example escaped the fate of nearly every New York Raiders game worn jersey. As history has shown, following the collapse of the New York Golden Blades in 1973-74, the Jersey Knights and the New York Raiders game worn jersey history were to be forever intertwined. The Knights reached back in franchise history, using the old New York Raiders game worn jerseys as their own with only a small modification. While the player names and numbers were left intact, the road New York Raiders jerseys were stripped of their “RAIDERS” lettering before having a Jersey Knights crest added to the chest. Of course the Knights jerseys were subsequently shipped with the franchise to San Diego and repurposed by the franchise once again. To our knowledge only one Jersey Knights road jersey exists in this original form and it was the example we offered for bid in the Spring 2019 Auction. The aforementioned Claude Chartre Knights gamer was met with great fanfare by our bidders and it exhibited the traits described above, having been stripped of the “RAIDERS” lettering across the chest with a Jersey Knights crest added.

This stunning Gary Kurt goalie gamer is the only all-original New York Raiders road game worn jersey that we’ve ever had the pleasure to lay our eyes upon. The game wear on this hand measured size 52 sweater consists of stick and puck marks, material pulls and un-repaired holes, exterior pilling at the sleeves and fine inner pilling. With the benefit of having Gary Kurt’s New York Golden Blades gamer up for bid in this same auction, we were able to compare the two rarities side by side and were quite frankly impressed at the similar wear patterns as well as both measuring out to a size 52, which is rather large and certainly unique for the era. Luckily for our hobby, this example escaped the known fate of all of the other New York Raiders game worn jerseys and instead of winding up in New Jersey and subsequently San Diego, this gamer found its way into this amazing private collection of jerseys that we just uncovered in the Twin Cities.

The rarity and desirability of an original New York Raiders game worn jersey cannot be understated. This may be the only one of its kind in existence and is most certainly the only one to ever appear at Major Auction. Hailing from the WHA’s inaugural season, this gem had sat unbeknownst to us all since leaving the ice some 47 years ago. Completely original in all respects, this fresh to the hobby offering is one of six recently discovered WHA game worn jerseys that are part of the exciting Twin Cities WHA Collection, choice!