Vancouver sports fans have a rare opportunity to own a slice of the province’s hockey history.
A 96-year-old official sweater from the Vancouver Millionaires/Vancouver Maroons is up for auction.
The squad played in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association and the Western Canada Hockey League between 1911 and 1926, picking up six PCHA championships and the 1915 Stanley Cup along the way.
The sweater is from the 1923/24 championship season, when the club played as the Maroons, according to Mike Heffner, president of Lelands.com auctioneers.
“(There are) very few items from that era are around, whether it’s hockey, baseball, basketball, they just don’t exist,” Heffner told Global News, Saturday.
“Something like this sweater, with the historical importance that comes with it, is really quite amazing … it belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame.”
The cardigan-style, heavy wool sweater still has its six original wooden buttons and bears a felt crest over the left breast reading “P.C.H.A. 22-23 Champ’s.”
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It spent some time in the Kingston Hockey Hall of Fame, where its origin was attributed to PCHA Hall of Fame goalie Hughie Lehman.
Heffner said he can’t verify that claim, but does certify the sweater’s authenticity. The sweater is the only one of its kind known to exist, he added.
“Even considering the coaches, the trainers, everyone else, it was probably a maximum of 15 of these sweaters given out and they were given to the team members and I’m assuming maybe a few VIP team officials with team owners,” he said.
While the sweater is in good condition, it has picked up some wear and tear over its’ nearly century-long life, including damage to one of its patches and a couple of holes.
Bidding on the sweater had reached $3,100 by Saturday, and Heffner believes it could top out at five-figures before the auction closes on Dec. 11.
The item has already drawn interest from collectors in Canada and the United States, he said.
He said the sweater belongs with a collector that will display and take care of it, though said he’d be just has happy to see a deep-pocketed donor pick it up and donate it to the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame.
“That would be awesome,” he said.
“I encourage people to at least take a look at it. Just just seeing yourself pretty much of a treat.”