As the Winter Classic Stick Story Turns

Teenager who had stick stolen and returned keeps two sticks for himself

By now, we all remember the case of the Winter Classic Henrik Zetterberg stick, yes? 14-year-old Kalan Plew got a souvenir from Zetterberg, some guy posing as security stole it from him, who then sold the stick to someone outside the stadium. The family couldn't get any help from the Cubs, so they wrote to the Tribune, where by the power of the Internet a dentist named Robert Pappart in North Carolina found out about the origin of his souvenir. Pappart contacted the Tribune, and gave the stick back to the kid, and all was well in Munchkin Land yet again.

Pappart, to his credit, didn't ask for money for the stick. He did, however, half-heartedly offer to trade Kalan for the signed stick the teenager got from the Red Wings. That's a fair trade, right? A game-used Winter Classic stick for a non-game-used autographed one. We'd take it.

But Plew and his father have decided not to trade. You read that right. The kid is going to keep both sticks:

"If it didn't have the autograph, I'm sure he'd put it right back in the box and send it to (Pappert)," dad Marc Plew said. "I had a long conversation with him about it. That's his decision."

What a surprise. A 14-year-old kid decides to eschew the right thing to do in favor of selfishness. Surely, this is an uncommon trait among 14-year-olds, as any parent of any teenager (or anyone that remembers what they were like as a teenager) can attest. Still, even on an adjusted, teenager-relative selfishness scale, this is a supremely jerk move. The guy didn't have to contact you, you know? He could have just kept the stick for himself. Sigh.

We shouldn't hammer too hard on the kid, though. He's only 14. 14-year-olds do stupid stuff. What about his dad? His dad is going to let him make the wrong decision? His dad really can't force him to put the stick in a box and send it to Pappart. Is parenting really that difficult? If so, we want nothing to do with it.

Anyway, there is one final note on this story before it thankfully leaves our lives forever. The Blackhawks, having heard about Plew's decision, decided to send Pappart a signed Patrick Kane stick. So all's well that ends well, even if the story got a bit cynical in the middle there. Pshh. Teenagers.

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