Sunday was a bright, sunny day in Kincardine, but Bruce-Grey Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch brought plenty of extra sweaters to town anyway.
Murdoch showed off some of his private collection of autographed hockey sweaters Sunday at the Walker House for the two-month long Hockey Time at the Walker House display.
Dennis Riggin's Detroit Red Wings jersey was just one on the sweaters in Bill Murdoch's collecction on display Sunday afternoon at the Walker House. Murdoch, Bruce-Grey Owen Sound MPP, brought more than 200 signed hockey jerseys for the Hockey Time at the Walker House display. (Josh Howald photo)
“I brought about 250 sweaters today,” said Murdoch. “But we only had room to hang up 122.”
Murdoch’s entire collection includes about 450 different signed jerseys. On Sunday, he displayed autographed jerseys from the entire 1967 Stanley Cup winning Toronto Maple Leafs, sweaters from now-defunct franchises and jerseys from team captains.
He said the collection began about seven years ago and is still growing.
“I had a couple hanging in my Owen Sound office,” he said. “When people came into the office to make a complaint, their kids would start looking at the jerseys and everybody would calm down. I thought, hey, I need to get some more of these in here.”
A steady stream of guests walked through the Walker House Sunday to take a gander at Murdoch’s impressive collection.
While the MPP has met many of the players that have signed shirts in the collection, he said the majority of them come through the mail. He contacts a player, and if they are agreeable, he purchases a jersey and mails it off to them. He is now collecting in themes, he said.
He is currently working on collecting the sweaters of every captain of the Detroit Red Wings. His collection includes the aforementioned ’67 Cup winning Leafs, the 1968 Stanley Cup winning Montreal Canadiens, and the sweaters of Fred Sasakamoose, Willie O’Ree and Jordin Tootoo – the first full blooded native, black and Inuit players to play in the NHL respectively. He has the jersey of every player inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, with the exception of Jean Ratelle.
“Even the Rangers don’t know where Ratelle is these days,” said Murdoch.
But his favourite sweater is that of his idol – Maurice “Rocket Richard.” Richard was Murdoch’s hero growing up, and because of that, he cheered for the Canadiens while growing up in a Maple Leaf household.
“I actually just got it a few months ago. There was an alumni game in Toronto, and Eddie Shack said he had (an autographed Richard jersey). I bought it from him, so right now I either have a real Rocket jersey, or I was ripped off by Eddie Shack,” Murdoch laughed.
While his Owen Sound office is filled with jerseys, he shows off a portion of the shirts at Owen Sound Attack home games. There are a few opportunities each year to show off the jerseys at various shows and displays, like Hockey Time at the Walker House. Dennis Riggin, whose Detroit jersey is part of Murdoch’s collection, arranged for the affable Murdoch to come to the Kincardine event.
Murdoch, who said in all seriousness that he will have to put an addition on his home to store the jerseys once his political career ends, was back to work Monday as Queen’s Park reconvened.