SUN Hockey Pool

New lord for old rings

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

The man who bought Peter Pocklington's Stanley Cup rings wants the much-maligned Edmonton Oilers owner to know they were bought out of warmth, not any of the negative emotions that surrounded much of his time here.

"I'm from a community outside Edmonton," said the new ring bearer who paid a staggering $272,829 for the five Stanley Cup rings - $320,057 including the 17.5% auction fee that went with the purchases.

"Four or five times a year my dad would drive me to Edmonton to the Northlands Coliseum to watch the Oilers play.

"We'd have seats up in the nose bleeds.

IN THE STANDS

"Peter Pocklington used to sit in the stands behind the Oilers bench with his wife. Sometimes there would be people sitting in the two seats beside him.

"But sometimes they'd be empty. I'm sure they were his seats. But I would go down, in the middle of the first period, and sit there if those seats were empty.

"He didn't have a problem with that. He was nice to us. He wasn't bothered by it. And his wife was really nice, too.

"I'm hoping that I'll be able to talk to Mr. Pocklington and let him know I was a fan and that I appreciate what he did and that I feel kindly toward him, despite his reputation.

"I want to tell him that I sat beside him as a kid and that I know the money from the rings and the other things he put up for auction are going for the education of his grandchildren and that I wish his grandchildren well and, well, have a nice day, I guess."

The man in question and his father are, if you hadn't guessed already, acquaintances of mine.

He called me yesterday, saying he knows people are trying to track him down but he doesn't want his name to come out right now because he lives in a smaller centre in Alberta and that, for the time being at lest, he doesn't want to be known in his town as the guy who paid all that money for Peter Pocklington's Stanley Cup rings for both personal and business reasons.

"I don't want anybody to know it was me - I had a friend do the bidding for me. But I do want people to know why I bought them.

"I'm not Daryl Katz. I'm somebody from Oiler Country who bought them because I think they belong in this area and because it takes me back to my childhood watching the Oilers have all that success in the 1980s.

"I think there are only six people who had all five rings, Pocklington, Glen Sather, Mark Messier, Kevin Lowe, Jari Kurri and Randy Gregg. I might be wrong about that. I was just trying to figure that out myself. I'm sure there are others in the organization.

"But Pocklington brought Wayne Gretzky to Edmonton.

"He also sold him but he brought Gretzky here for the best years in his career and I was able to watch him those years as a kid when my dad took me into Edmonton for the games.

"Looking back, I consider Gretzky to have been very instrumental in my life.

NOT SELLING

"I have no interest in selling the rings. To me they represent a whole era and a whole aura. It's about what those rings mean."

He said the bidding was on each ring separately.

"Once I had three, I knew I had to have all five because having them all would mean a lot more to me," he said.

The new owner of the rings said the 1987 ring closed first at $30,597, but he can't remember the order of the others closing.

He paid $59,628 for the 1984 ring, $61,174 for the 1985 ring, $49,279 for the 1988 ring and $72,151 for the 1990 ring.

"The rules of the action were that the bidding closed at 8 p.m. but with a 10 minute rule. If there's a bid in the next 10 minutes, the auction keeps going. On the last ring, it went to 3 a.m. I fell asleep with my cell phone on my chest."

I called Pocklington in Palm Springs to tell him the rest of the story that will go with the cheque which is about to go into the trust fund for his grandchildren.

"Isn't that amazing," he said. "I am very pleased to hear that.

"He paid a lot. My grandchildren are going to be happy I have 12 of them.

"One of them is going to college next year. I planned this for a long time with the trust fund. I'm happy I did it. But I didn't expect that kind of money."

Pocklington told me to give the man his phone number.

"I'd love to talk to him. I'm so pleased to hear that."


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