How I find rare hockey memorabilia

Sometimes you see something and just know you want it.

For me, that thing was my uncle’s famous hockey room. Well, it was famous to me, at least. He had a jersey signed by dozens of Toronto Maple Leafs players from all generations, an old seat from Maple Leaf Gardens and hockey cards wall-to-wall.

The first time I saw that room as a kid, I knew I wanted a room like that: the ultimate Leafs room.

When I was in university, I started collecting old hockey figures; mostly the old McFarlane ones. Before long, my collection was at about half-a-dozen. Then an idea dawned on me.

In my weird little career making YouTube videos about hockey, I’ve had the chance to talk to a lot of hockey players. Luckily enough, a bunch of those players had their own figures. My idea, nerdy as it was, was to print out pictures of me with these players, hang them on my wall, and then hang their figurine underneath. I displayed them on my wall for all to see in my YouTube videos. The few that I had took up the entire wall in my childhood bedroom pretty quickly.

When the day came that I moved into my own place, I found my own version of my uncle’s hockey room: The Blue Room.

Well, it wasn’t blue yet, but from the moment I saw it, I knew it was going to be my hockey shrine. After painting it Leafs blue, I started hanging up dozens of pictures and figures, including a bunch that didn’t even fit on the walls in my childhood bedroom.

However, I stopped being able to find all the memorabilia I needed. I decided to become a scavenger and hunt through the local flea market to see what I could find.

Sure, I ended up finding some pretty cool stuff but as I met more players, I needed more figures. The flea market only has what the flea market has, just how stores only have what stores have.

How do I grow my collection when I can’t find what I need?

The answer was right in front of me the whole time: The Internet! I was on Twitter half the day anyway. How didn’t it dawn on me to look this stuff up on Kijiji?

My first big second-hand find was Doug Gilmour’s figure. I had met him in September 2012, and if I’m going to have a sick hockey room that’s going to even come close to rivaling my uncle’s, Dougie has to be in there.

I had gone into a bunch of stores and spent hours looking through flea markets and it all ended up being a waste of time. With one quick search, I was able to find a whole bunch of Gilmour figures in great condition and with up to $20 savings compared to brand new!

First, I looked for the ones that were the closest to where I lived. After that, I was even able to compare prices between sellers. “Oh, this guy’s is $5 cheaper than this other guy’s!” After emailing with the seller, I arranged a meet-up, got the Dougie figure, gave the seller their money, and left to continue turning The Blue Room into a sports memorabilia masterpiece.

It’s that simple. No more wandering down rows and aisles looking for something that may or may not even be there. With my new realization, I was able to find what I needed, save a little money, and bring it home to where it belongs.

There are about 40,000 listings for sports collectibles at any given time, so I’m never worried about running out of items to browse.

Today, I have nearly 50 unique picture/figure displays hanging in The Blue Room. In fact, they’ve started to spill out into the rest of the basement. Obsessed? Maybe. But ask me if I’m ashamed. No!

I still haven’t topped my uncle’s hockey haven but I know I’m getting closer. Thanks to the people in my community selling hockey paraphernalia, building my labour of love is quicker, cheaper, and easier.

One day, my team’s going to bring the Cup home. Don’t laugh! They will. When they do, my puck palace is going to double in size.

And when it does, you know I’ll be shopping second-hand first.

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