Saturday, June 26, 2010

The man who owns Paul Henderson's iconic jersey

Meet Mitchell Goldhar. He owns SmartCentres, a private real-estate development company in the city of Vaughan, and is part owner of Calloway Real Estate Investment Trust. SmartCentres owns more than 160 shopping centres across Canada. Goldhar, who helped bring Wal-Mart to Canada in 1994, also sits on the boards at Indigo Books & Music Inc. and the SickKids Foundation in Toronto. In 2008, Canadian Business listed Goldhar as the 50th richest person in the country, worth an estimated $1.06 billion.

Goldhar has some rich childhood memories of the 1972 Summit Series. He remembers sitting in the gymnasium at his Toronto elementary school, crouched around a small TV set with his schoolmates and teachers. The building was silent and eyes were glued to the final game. He was 11 years old at the time. Now he own the ultimate collector's item for just $1.2 million.

The sweater was put up for auction by an anonymous American owner a month ago, setting off a wave of nationalism as companies such as Canadian Tires, the Forzani Group Ltd., Molson and the Jim Pattison Group lobbied to have it returned to Canada.The bidding started at $10,000, and seemed to sputter out around $200,000 late last week. The deadline was 9 p.m. Tuesday, but would-be buyers were allowed to keep bidding by phone and Internet until all action had stopped for 10 minutes. Mr. Goldhar said he didn’t put in his first bid of about $350,000 until three minutes before the 9 p.m. deadline.
Mr. Goldhar put in his final bid at about 1 a.m., then fell asleep. He didn’t find out he’d won until he was awakened by a media telephone call at 6:30 a.m., having slept through the official notification that came by e-mail at 5:33 a.m.

So what will he do with the jersey now? Goldhar promises he'll take it on a national tour and loan it to different institutions — including the sports hall.
He dreams of people getting the chance to visit Henderson, posing with the sweater, at gathering points across the country.
He says he'd never charge anyone to see it, nor does he intend to sell it for profit.
I'm glad it's back in Canada.

Let's just hope he does the righ thing with it.

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