Banners from Maple Leaf Gardens hang in a familiar place, for now anyway.
Maple Leafs memorabilia from the Gardens are on display until Saturday for the first time since the team’s former arena closed in 1999.
The new arena, known as the Mattamy Athletic Centre and owned by Ryerson University, is playing host to the public for the auction being held for these nostalgic reminders of Maple Leafs’ past glory.
It’s the first time that this memorabilia has been up for sale to the public since the original auction in 2000, a year after the Gardens closed for good.
Among the 112 items include: the Maple Leafs penalty box, the dressing room logo, championship banners, banners for honoured players such as Tim Horton, and yes, even the Leafs dressing room toilet.
All are on sale after spending a little over a decade in the basement of electronics mogul Sherman Cunningham, who originally purchased the memorabilia but no longer has grandiose plans for their use.
Cunningham is giving the adoring public another chance to purchase these items, allowing Leafs fans and hockey memorabilia enthusiasts drooling at the thought of owning something this special and unique.
George Brown College student Matt Hands is among life-long Maple Leafs fan hoping to purchase a piece of history.
“If I was able to get my hands on a meaningful, original piece of Maple Leaf Gardens it would be invaluable to me, and something I would have until the day I die,” said the post-graduate student at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Thursday
“I’ve always wanted to own an original seat from Maple Leaf Gardens. To have that piece of history where millions of people have sat and watched the Leafs perform, just as I had growing up would be amazing to own.”
Although seats aren’t up for sale, the nostalgia of the old Gardens plays an invaluable role in the auction, which is being held online at frozenpond.com until Nov. 14.
Among the most valuable items available is the original 1967 Maple Leafs championship banner – the last year the team won the Stanley Cup. Cunningham purchased the banner for $66,000 but could fetch a bid as high as $200,000, according to the Toronto Star.
But for those whose wallets aren’t that sizeable, the arena remains free to explore and may be the last chance the public will get to see these historic items.