In this April 16, 2013 photo, Shawn Chaulk poses with his collection of Wayne Gretzky memorabilia in Fort McMurray, Alta. The Wayne Gretzky of Wayne Gretzky collectors has netted some big bucks in an auction of many of his choicest memorabilia pieces, But Chaulk, a native of Bonavista, could make even more, hinting that one buyer is talking about picking up pretty much all that’s left for $1.7 million. — Canadian Press file photo
Still, the 500-goal jersey went back and forth through 29 bids. It may be the second-most expensive hockey jersey ever purchased. The one worn by Paul Henderson during the 1972 series against the Russians last sold for $1.2 million.
The online auction opened in mid-May and closed early Wednesday as the last bids trickled in. Chaulk wasn’t glued to the bidding, but those who were kept him plugged in.
“I sat in my office all last night and worked,” he said. “And as I was working I was fielding emails and texts from people all around the globe.”
Although Chaulk has a pretty good idea of who some of the bidders were, the buyers are confidential. He is pleased to note that two of the pucks — including the 500-goal biscuit — will stay in Fort McMurray.
Chaulk doesn’t plan to sell his entire stash, but he has plenty more Gretzky memorabilia for sale. The player’s game-used sticks alone number over 100 and range from one used in the 1978 world junior tournament from one used in Gretzky’s last game with the New York Rangers in 1999.
Chaulk hints one buyer is talking about picking up pretty much all that’s left for $1.7 million — about the yearly price of a third-line NHLer. Chaulk said that lot could wind up in a combination restaurant, hotel and museum devoted to The Shawn Chaulk Collection.
“That would be pretty cool.”
What’s next? Chaulk doesn’t know.
His collection has already brought him all sorts of new friends, unlikely contacts and precious memories, from hanging out at the Sundance Film Festival with Gretzky fan and filmmaker Kevin Smith to touring the collection with The Great One himself.
Nor have those opportunities stopped. After it heard of Chaulk’s hoard, a production company contacted him about getting involved with a reality TV show.
It’s all mushroomed pretty big for someone who just started buying game-used gear because it made him feel close to the game he loves.
But there are no regrets to bidding goodbye to what’s been a big part of his life.
“I hold firm to the fun I’ve had with this — the challenges, the chase, the experiences, the people. It’s awesome.
“I can’t sell that. That’ll be with me for ever.”
In 2011, The Telegram’s John Browne profiled Shawn Chaulk, detailing how he began his Gretzky collection. Here’s the link to the story: http://tinyurl.com/lb3y53k