Some pro athletes save memorabilia from their playing careers. Some go a step further and grab whatever they can while the dream lives on—from teammates’ jerseys and gear to autographs and things only they have access to.
Others just don’t have the collecting gene and aren’t concerned at all with saving much of anything.
Members of the Chicago Blackhawks come from all over North America and true to form, some are very much aware of the unique opportunity to bring home potentially valuable memorabilia while others barely give it a second thought.
Manitoba native Toews told the Chicago Tribune his parents once took him out of class to get an autograph from Wayne Gretzky. Toews, who isn’t old enough to have seen the Great One in his prime, was nevertheless obsessed with hockey—and Gretzky.
“The Kings were in (Winnipeg) to play the Jets, and my dad’s friend from work knew where to get autographs. My dad and my mom took my brother and me and we were wearing Kings jerseys. We got an autograph.”
Toews says he still has the autograph, “though I don’t know where it is. It’s probably stuffed away in a box somewhere back home.”
Toews told the paper he’s collected items from special moments of his own career including the Stanley Cup, Olympics, All-Star games and the Winter Classic but doesn’t display much.
“It piles up in the house, and people are like, ‘Why don’t you hang that up?’ I’m not going to hang that up in my own house. Not yet, anyway.”
Duncan Keith does display career memorabilia inside his home and his parents’ house in Penticton, British Columbia.
“It’s cool to look back at all the trophies my parents kept for me from over the years,” Keith said. “To be able to bring the Stanley Cup down in my room a couple of years ago in Penticton and put it with all my trophies from minor hockey made for a pretty cool picture.”
Patrick Kane says he’s kept the pucks from the game in which he became the first US-born player to score a point in 19 straight games, one from his franchise record 22nd straight game with a point and the one used when he scored his 600th career point earlier this month.
Kane says he owns All-Star Game helmets, gloves and sticks which he has displayed in one part of his house but plans to create a memorabilia room someday.
Winger Andrew Shaw says the Blackhawks organization is good about helping players with memorabilia.
“They put it in a case with pictures of our first game or pictures of the goal,” he said. “I kept that and sticks. I kept my helmet from last season, and the team signed jerseys after we won the Cup.”
Shaw is one of those players who collects memorabilia from other eras and sports, counting a helmet signed by members of the 1985 Chicago Bears and a pair of signed Muhammad Ali boxing trunks among his possessions.
Joel Quenneville says his collection doesn’t rival that of former teammate Chico Resch, who saved anything and everything but enjoyed getting a 13-inch replica Stanley Cup from the organization last week.
“That’s the prize of my collection,” he said.
Of course, the Stanley Cup rings earned by players are the ultimate collectible.
“There are only so many guys out there with those,” he said.