Montreal, Quebec – An 86-year-old wooden hockey stick signed by Canada’s original Olympic championship squad in 1924 is to be sold at auction in the coming weeks.
“It’s a very unique piece and a fantastic part of Canadian hockey history,” Marc Juteau, president of Classic Auctions in Quebec, told AFP.
With the Winter Games taking place now in Vancouver, Juteau said he expects a bidding frenzy at the March 16 auction that will also feature hundreds of items from a century of sport.
The Spalding stick, signed along the shaft and blade along with the message “With best thanks,” was discovered in the early 1990s in a Toronto basement with unknown links to the team.
The Toronto Granites were Canada’s top amateur club in 1924 and represented the nation at the first modern Olympics, outscoring their opponents 110 to three in five games.
Canada would go on to win hockey gold at five of the first six Olympic hockey tournaments, before a 50-year drought set in between 1952 and 2002.
Three players from Canada’s 1924 Olympic squad were later inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Hundreds of hockey jerseys, pucks, trophies and other memorabilia are also on the auction block.
Early online bids start at less than 500 dollars (468 US dollars) for a stick signed by hockey great Wayne Gretzky or a Winnipeg Jets jersey.
Yvan Cournoyer’s red Team Canada uniform worn at the 1972 Canada versus Russia Summit Series, a US men’s ice hockey gold medal from the “Miracle on Ice” 1980 Lake Placid Games when a young US team upset the powerhouse Soviet national team, and the actual puck shot by American Mark Johnson to tie the game 2-2 are expected to fetch much more.
Another hockey stick said to date back to 1850s Ontario, meanwhile, is also to be sold at a separate auction on February 28. It is currently on display in Vancouver.
The so-called Rutherford Stick was previously sold to a Canadian collector in 2006 for 1.9 million dollars (1.78 million US).