DULUTH, Minn - More than seven decades ago, a young man etched his initials into a hockey puck with a jackknife.
On May 31, the Duluth News Tribune reported that 88-year-old Ray Ulvi, a diamond willow cane maker, was walking in the woods near his daughter's Duluth, Minnesota, home looking for wood, when he saw that puck on the ground. The initials on each side read, "RU."
“I thought it was a gosh darn snuff can,” Ulvi told the Duluth News Tribune. “I took my cane and hit it. When it flopped over, I seen it was a puck. And there were my initials — I thought, 'Holy cow, all these years.'"
It was Ulvi's puck from decades ago. He'd etched in his initials as a teenager, KARE reported.
“I was flabbergasted,” Ulvi said. “How could something like that be sitting right there, and I walked up and just about stepped on it after 70-some odd years? It’s unbelievable.”
Ulvi shared the find with his wife of 63 years, Sonja.
“I couldn’t share it with any of his buddies, 'cause they’re all dead,” Sonja Ulvi told KARE. “I must have went to 10 houses, so excited about this puck, carrying it with me in a napkin so I wouldn’t do any damage.”
KARE reported that Ulvi isn't sure how the puck got into the woods. Although he grew up in the area and the neighborhood skating rink is nearby, he said his slapshot wasn't that good. Ulvi guessed he was in eighth or ninth grade when he had the puck, and he doesn't remember losing it, according to Duluth News Tribune.
Still, the find is a special one. Ulvi said growing up, he had to make his pucks, which were purchased from the local hardware store, last all season.
“My dad wouldn’t pay a quarter for a puck back in them days, you had one that followed you and it lasted all winter,” he told KARE.
And the chances of finding it makes it more memorable. Sonja Ulvi told the newspaper that had he been even 3 feet away, it would have never been found.
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