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Penguins

Air Canada searching for missing Crosby jersey

| Saturday, Jan. 8, 2005

Hockey phenom Sidney Crosby will get his jersey back -- just not the one that disappeared during his trip home from the World Junior Hockey Championship.

Hockey Canada decided Friday to pull a white jersey he wore in the recent tournament off an online charity auction and give it back to the 17-year-old junior hockey star after his red jersey was apparently stolen on the trip back from North Dakota this week.

The white jersey, worn in wins over Sweden and Finland, had a bid of $20,000 on it before Hockey Canada removed it from auction so Crosby could get at least one jersey back from the tournament won by Canada.

But the whereabouts of the red sweater, which Crosby wore the rest of the tournament including Tuesday night's gold medal game, remained a mystery Friday.

"He was really sad when I spoke to him," Crosby's agent Pat Brisson said Friday from Los Angeles.

The Canadian players wore two jerseys at the tournament. The white ones went to the charity auction while the players were allowed to keep the red ones.

Air Canada launched an internal investigation after Crosby arrived back to Mont-Joli, Que., on Wednesday to rejoin the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Rimouski Oceanic, discovering that his red No. 9 jersey was missing from his equipment bag.

"Mr. Crosby indicated to us that the jersey was missing and we took immediate steps to retrace his steps while he was on Air Canada," Laura Cooke, a spokeswoman for Air Canada in Toronto, said Friday.

"We fully recognize the importance of the jersey and how special it is for him," added Cooke. "The issue for us right now is that at this point we have no indication to suggest the jersey was lost while under our care. But regardless of that point, we're doing everything possible to try and locate the jersey."

Crosby put the red jersey in his hockey bag when the team left North Dakota by bus for Winnipeg from where the players flew home.

"That's why we're working with Hockey Canada on this investigation because of that portion of the trip," Cooke said.

Crosby flew from Winnipeg to Montreal and then to Mont-Joli on Wednesday.

A reward for information leading to the return of the jersey has been offered.

"We're hoping that the person that has found, or stolen, the red jersey will bring it back," said Brisson. "If anyone gives us a lead on finding the jersey, they'll get rewarded.

"And if we get the red jersey back, Sidney would then give the white jersey back and it could go back on eBay."

Team Canada game-worn jerseys, gloves and helmets from the world junior hockey championship, as well as other items, are up for bid on eBay Canada and www.hockeycanada.ca, with proceeds from the auction going to both the Canadian Hockey Foundation and south Asian tsunami relief efforts.

Hockey Canada had originally planned to split the net proceeds from the auction with 25 percent going to the South Asian relief fund and 75 percent to the Canadian Hockey Foundation, but will now provide each organization with an even 50-50 split of net proceeds.

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