Hitchin' a ride

, Last Updated: 11:49 AM ET

It took 15 years to find out Harold Bakke snuck past the Oilers defence and score a huge one.

Shots of the Edmonton Oilers' first Stanley Cup parade - the May 22, 1984, madness featuring 200,000 delirious fans - show a white-suited Wayne Gretzky with hockey's Holy Grail, in the back of a white Excalibur convertible.

The guy in the front passenger seat was Bakke, the Great Pretender.

How a stockbroker wound up hanging with a hockey-playing superstar made Bakke laugh today when he finally fessed up.

"Here I am, holding the Stanley Cup and Wayne's talking about the celebration the night before. I thought, 'Whoa, what world am I on?' " Bakke said in 1999.

He was 27 then, a broker with Nesbitt Thomson. He'd planned to hitch a ride in the parade with the driver of a flatbed truck serving a float. Problem was, the trucker decided to let his family join him for the ride.

In the meanwhile, Bakke and two suit-wearing buddies had learned the convoy was to form up at the Legislature before crawling along Jasper Avenue to City Hall.

They went to the grounds and the great deke began.

"We sort of came to this idea: 'Why not pretend we're security and walk alongside the Stanley Cup car? That'll get us as close as possible to the action,' " Bakke recalled.

Somehow, the volunteer tags of two car decorators came Bakke's way. "We were finding this very interesting."

"Everything was going smoothly until they spotted Mounties in resplendent red serge.

"Turns out their task was to escort the white Excalibur. "We said, 'That's it. We're toast.' "

Not quite. Bakke started chatting up the driver, a Spruce Grove woman whose father owned the Excalibur. Then Oilers coach Glen Sather barked out: "Let's get going! We've got the city of Edmonton waiting for us."

Bakke innocently asked her for a lift. She assumed he was security. "We were just starting to move along and some guy runs up to me alongside the car, looks at me and hops in the back with Wayne Gretzky and the Stanley Cup," Bakke said.

And so he was in, agog as Gretzky talked about drinking B-52 shooters from Lord Stanley's mug the night before.

If Bakke was surprised, his buddies were numb.

- This story first appeared in the Sept. 30, 1999 edition of the Sun


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