Calgary home buyer and seller settle $3,000 price impasse with hockey shootout

Gavin Wolch wanted to sell his home for $3,000 more than a buyer was willing to pay, so they faced off on the ice.

Gavin Wolch met buyer on the ice for a best-of-11 shootout, with the winner getting the price they wanted

Gavin Wolch gives his son a high-five after winning the hockey shootout. (Supplied by Gavin Wolch)

When Gavin Wolch reached an impasse negotiating the final sale price of his Calgary home, he suggested a decidedly Canadian way to settle the matter — and challenged the buyer to a hockey shootout.

"We were going back and forth; it was a bit of a long day of negotiations," Wolch told Calgary Eyeopener guest host Doug Dirks on Friday.

"I made an off-hand … comment to my [real estate] agent and said, 'Well, why don't we just play for it?"

Wolch says he made the suggestion as a joke after googling the buyer — who asked to remain anonymous — and discovering he was a "serious hockey player." But soon after Wolch made the wisecrack, his agent phoned him back with an inquiry.

"'Did you mean it?'" Wolch said his agent asked. "'[Because] I think it's game on.'"

Wolch, a lawyer who plays recreationally as a goalie, and the buyer, a defenceman in the minors, were stuck on a difference of $3,000. The game would determine if the buyer would pay it.

The rules that they settled on were "gentlemanly," Wolch says, and the shootout was comprised of best-of-11 penalty shots.

"It was enough that we could actually make a real game out of it," Wolch said.

The match generated "quick interest," Wolch says, and estimates 30 to 40 people came to watch them face off, including the families of the two opponents.

The buyer beat Wolch on the first attempt but missed the second shot. Wolch says it was this moment that made him realized he had a fighting chance — and he went on to win 6-4.

"I made a couple of pretty good saves, and then it was over," Wolch said. "I looked over at the ref and [said], 'Wait a second. Did I just win?'"

The gutsy move to haggle with hockey had paid off for Wolch, and his house sold for $3,000 more. Even if he had lost, Wolch says, it still would have been worth it for the experience.

"It was a gamble, but it wasn't really … because it was going to be an honour to be on the ice with him regardless."

When asked on the Calgary Eyeopener if the win means he's lost his amateur status, Wolch laughed.

"Trust me, there's no illusions about where things would stand if we actually played a game," he said. 

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.


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