Collector Interview: Shawn Chaulk

Shawn Chaulk has an astonishing story.  He is currently a semi-retired owner of a construction company, a husband, and a father of 3 children ages 9, 6, and 1 currently residing in Fort McMurray in Northern Alberta, originally from Newfoundland.  He is a very strong willed family man and always puts his kids first.  He is also a brilliant business man which helped him build the company he has today and as you will see, helped him jump start his collecting career.  What is your favorite beer?  Quite possibly the question most of our readers are curious about.
Shawn Chaulk: Heineken.

GW: What is your favorite team?  Based on your current location, I am guessing Edmonton Oilers?
SC:  Yes, the Edmonton Oilers, ever since they joined the league in 79/80.

GW:  What was your first game worn jersey? (Read More)SC: Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers, I have had about 10 Gretzky gamers since.

I had to take a moment at this point to recollect my thoughts on this interview.  I have never seen or held a Wayne Gretzky jersey myself, let alone have one as my first jersey.  I had to dig deeper.

GW: How did you get involved in the hobby?
SCMy transition into collecting game worn jerseys was evolutionary as I am sure most other collectors are.  I began collecting autographs of players and cards over 20 years ago and I began to realize that there was an angle to collecting that could provide me with game worn memorabilia.  Around 2002 or 2003 I began to observe the hobby because I wanted to arm myself with as much information as I could about the hobby before I began my journey.  At this point, I didnt have the liquid assets to begin the collection I wanted.  In 2005, another collector had the bulk of their collection for auction which included some Gretzky items.  I had the means at this point to start the collection I wanted.  I knew that once I got started, my drive would carry me the rest of the way.  I purchased a Gretzky practice jersey (which I do not consider a game worn jersey because it’s a practice jersey) and once I got that jersey, I had the bug.

I began my hunt to fill out my Gretzky collection, which culminated in about 10 Gretzky gamers (including: 81/82 Blue, 85/86 White, 86/87 White, 84 Canada Cup white, 98/99 Blue, 77 world juniors Team Canada blue), 10 pairs of his gloves, all photomatched, 4 of which were from Stanley Cup finals (the only 4 pairs he used in the finals), 3 helmets including his rookie and 86/87 cup finals, 4 pairs of skates including his 500th goal skates, over 200 sticks from 1977 world juniors to his last NHL game, and a visit from the Great One himself.  I was able to spend 3 days with Wayne at my house as my guest of honor, talking about my collection, hearing the stories he had to tell.  It was an amazing experience and I hadn’t had a thought that my collecting could have led to this. 

I feel like this was the pinnacle at this point in my collection.  That chapter of my collection had been completed and there was nothing else for me to do.  It was unfair for my family as I had a lot of money tied up in uninsurable assets which really scared me.  I sold a number of my Wayne Gretzky gamers but I have still been active in buying and selling them since.

Clearly I am in shock at this point.  Completely gushing with the awesomeness of this story.  The business side of me is impressed because it is obvious how strong of a business sense he has in order to grow his business to be able to collect such high end jerseys. The collector side of me finds the drive it takes to track these jerseys down to obtain to be incredible. 

GW:  What does your current collection focus on?
SC:   I have over 30 gamers of Glenn Anderson, the majority of which are Oilers gamers.  I collect Andersons because Glenn is a friend of mine.  I also have about 50 Dan Cleary jerseys because he is also from Newfoundland like me, and is the first Newfoundlander to have his name on the Stanley Cup.  I try to collect jerseys of players I feel like I have something in common with or a personal connection to them in some manner.

GW:   What is your favorite jersey that you have or have had?
SC:  I have two right now.  A 1981-82 Blue Edmonton Oilers Gretzky gamer that he wore from the preseason, to the end of the regular season.  I still have that one.  Yesterday, I picked up the other one.  I flew someone in from Sweeden to Edmonton where I am currently at to meet up and do a deal for a 1984 Team Canada Gretzky jersey, photomatched to a picture of Wayne holding the cup in hand.  I have a strong connection to this jersey because of the heritage and what it represents for me.

GWWhat is your favorite thing about this hobby?
SCI really enjoy the networking that it takes to obtain what you would like for your collection and the friendships that you make while making these connections.  It’s funny, I was telling 8 of my friends this same thing last night, as we (all jersey collectors) met for drinks.

GW:  With everything you have already told me so far, I can’t imagine this question still applies, but I will ask anyway.  If you could have any jersey in the world, what would it be?SC(30 seconds of silence).  ANY Photomatched Bobby Orr jersey.

As we say our greetings and I thank Shawn for his time, I can’t help but think about some of the jerseys that have passed through his collection.  I haven’t even seen a Gretzky gamer in person, let alone own 10 of them at a time.  Having a collection expansive enough that it draws a player, especially the Great One to your home to talk shop, unfathomable. 

Everything about this interview had me gushing, even 36 hours later as I write this article.  I still can’t help but shake my head and laugh a little bit inside as I realize how there have been such a large number of jerseys in one place that I have come to terms with never having the opportunity to own them myself.  You can’t help but be thankful to simply have a conversation about them, but that’s why we collect, isn’t it?

Here are a few other interviews and stories Shawn has shared with us:
Page 54 of this edition of Chill magazine
The Telegram article about Wayne visiting the collection at a show.
Dinner with Gretzky in Edmonton
Dinner with Gretzky in Fort McMurray
Sundance Film Festival with Kevin Smith

Shawn welcomes emails from other collectors and enjoys talking shop.  If you would like to contact him, feel free to email him here.