Fans bid thousands on historic Wayne Gretzky memorabilia
Published Friday, May 17, 2013 12:13PM MDT Last Updated Friday, May 17, 2013 6:23PM MDT
It’s the jersey the Great One wore when he scored his 500th goal.
It’s also the same jersey he wore during the 1987 Stanley Cup finals.
Now that historic item is up for auction – along with countless more Wayne Gretzky memorabilia from a Fort McMurray collector.
The hockey fan’s massive collection went up for sale Friday morning and by noon that coveted jersey had already reached a bid of nearly $54,000.
For years, Gretzky’s jerseys, skates, and sticks have been on display in a room of Shawn Chaulk’s Fort McMurray home.
Chaulk has been following Gretzky’s historic NHL career since it began 30 years ago.
It wasn’t long after that before he started collecting items tied to some of his hockey hero’s historic accomplishments.
From helmets to gloves, milestone pucks and sticks #99 used in his prime, Chaulk says collecting the items became his passion after visiting a pawn shop in Edmonton 15 years ago when he acquired his first piece of game-used sports memorabilia – a hockey stick.
“I didn’t realize this was attainable. I didn’t know you could have a piece of the game so to speak so I spent my $20 wisely and I bought my first hockey stick and the hobby or the addiction or the sickness, whatever you can refer to it as, was born,” Chaulk said.
“You’re like what am I going to get next? You start looking, you start researching, you start educating yourself and doors open, you discover auction houses and sales and before you know it you start buying pieces a little bit of a time. It’s evolutionary, it grows.”
The impressive collection has created opportunities for Chaulk to even meet Gretzky, during a special event in Edmonton years ago.
“We had a private tour of the collection and for me, it doesn’t get any better when you collect something and have him walk through the collection with you. He’s such an amazing guy,” Chaulk said.
Chaulk says Gretzky was appreciative that someone had collected the items and said it was an important way to preserve the history of the game.
“He asked a lot of questions about where I got it, how I got it, it was surreal,” he said.
Chaulk isn’t selling his entire collection, but says after so many years of acquiring items the Great One has used, he won’t miss what is up on the auction block because of all the great opportunities and memories he has tied to the items.
“I won’t miss it. It’s stuff,” he said.
“The thing is, having this and building this has afforded me some amazing memories. I’ve attended some amazing events, met some amazing people and I can’t sell that. No matter what happens to all this stuff, I get to carry that forward, I’ll get to talk about that and I’ll get to re-live that. The most important part is having experienced it.”
He says part of the reason why he’s putting the items up for sale is because they aren’t insured – and that’s something that’s caused him a lot of stress.
“I had two floods in my house in the last year. None of them got to the collection but it was a ‘what if.’ Sometimes you lay in bed at night and you start thinking, if I had a fire, I would lose huge amounts of non-recoverable assets, so that plays on your mind,” he said.
Chaulk doesn't know how much money he's spent building up his collection over the years, saying cost varies depending on the item.
"I haven't kept track intentionally," he said. "The number would probably scare me."
The avid collector does admit that it cost him $20,000 to add one particular hockey stick to his collection.
Click here to view the Gretzky memorabilia auction.
The auction runs online until June 18.
With files from Veronica Jubinville