May 15, 2017

When it comes to vintage finds for sports fans, it doesn't get any better than this: Toronto's Robert Goring recently visited Muzeum to offer our customers a chance to purchase a hockey stick at 110 years old, and hockey skates worn by Toronto Maple Leafs great Red Horner in 1932.

Goring, who worked as a designer before retiring, showed us the unique stick, which doesn't feature any knob and still includes its original blade tape. In fact, this stick was used by Howie Morenz, who tallied 271 regular-season goals in 14 NHL seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and was regarded as one of hockey's first superstars.

"The stick has never been used," says Goring in an interview. "And my father gave it to me, because he knew how much I loved hockey." Goring isn't hyperbolic; he began playing hockey when he was three in his Kingston, Ontario, home and then moved on to play some junior hockey for OHA's Exeter Hawks.

Morenz is a familiar name to hockey zealots. His impressive speed and scoring skills filled arenas in Montreal. In 1927-28, Howie ran away with the scoring championship, notching a league-best 33 goals and adding 18 assists for 51 points. He was also given the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player.

Howie Morenz and his fellow Montreal Canadiens stars

Through 550 games, the Mitchell, Ontario native scored 271 goals and added 201 assists for 472 points. He was one of the first to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame, earning the honour in 1945.

Morenz's stick Goring showed us sports a curve along the shaft, which Goring says was made due to a steaming process no longer used by stick manufacturers. It was made by Hespeler-St. Mary's Wood Specialties, which was known to create sticks used in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as wooden baseball bats.

Goring notes this stick, pegged at 110 years old, has been authenticated by the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

To even see a purely wooden hockey stick being used is a step back into more nostalgic times. Today, NHL players and other hockey pros prefer composite sticks, and wood sticks have dipped to a 25%, and dwindling, market share, as this National Post article notes.

Canada has a history of recognizing the value of vintage hockey sticks. A stick handmade from a single piece of sugar maple between 1835 and 1838 in Cape Breton sold for $300,000 in 2015, according to media reports.

Goring also came into possession of vintage hockey skates worn by Leafs tough guy Red Horner, who flew around the ice in the skates during the 1932 Stanley Cup win. The simple-looking brown skates have also never been used since Goring received them.

Horner, who played for the Maple Leafs from 1928 to 1940, was dubbed by Maclean’s in 1935 as "hockey’s bad boy," and for good reason: he led the NHL in penalty minutes for the final eight seasons of his career. As Sportsnet describes him, "It was his job to patrol the blueline (paired mainly with King Clancy), protect the franchise’s smaller players and keep the opposition honest around the 'Kid Line.'"

 For the lucky buyer who purchases this hockey memorabilia, Goring says, "You'll be holding more than 100 years of hockey history in your hands."

"These skates, this hockey stick, these are real pieces of Canadian hockey history."

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