Nova Scotia

Sale of oldest hockey stick a slap to former owner

Resentment is brewing over the proposed sale of the world's oldest hockey stick, which was purchased for $1,000 but could be worth more than $1 million.
The world's oldest hockey stick could fetch more than $1 million. (CBC)

Resentment is brewing over the proposed sale of the world's oldest hockey stick, which was purchased for $1,000 but could be worth more than $1 million.

Former owner George Ferneough sold the stick for $1,000 to collector Mark Presley of Berwick, N.S., three years ago. Known as the Moffatt stick, it was given to him by Charlie Moffatt, and Ferneough had displayed it in his North Sydney barbershop for years.

Now Ferneough is feeling ripped off.  "I think I should get a little cut," he said Thursday.

The hockey stick was made by Moffatt's grandfather for his father, who played hockey with it on Pottle Lake, near North Sydney. The initials W.M. for William Moffat are scratched on it.

Mark Presley visted Charlie Moffatt, 92, to learn the history of the Moffatt hockey stick. ((CBC))

Since buying the maple stick, Presley has proved that it is the oldest in existence, dating to the mid-1830s, and it could be worth up to $2 million.

Members of the Moffatt family have a different view about Presley, who visited 92-year-old Charlie Moffatt after buying the stick to find out about its history.

Moffatt's widow, Joyce, said the excitement about the Moffatt stick wouldn't exist if the collector hadn't seen potential in it in the first place.

"If Mr. Presley hadn't come along, I don't know where the thing would be now," she said Thursday. "It would probably be in a museum in a box."

Charlie Moffatt's stepson, John Hannem, said that for him the legacy of the Moffatt stick is priceless.

"You meet people and you ask them if they've ever heard of the Moffatt hockey stick. Yeah, well, that's part of our family," he said.

The stick was crafted between 1835 and 1838, according to tests done at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B.

Presley, who is selling the stick so he can afford to return to university, said he's not sure how much he'll get for it.

"It's really hard to say. It's worth what someone's prepared to pay, I suppose," he said.

The famous Rutherford hockey stick sold on eBay in 2001 for $2.2. million. It was carved by Alexander Rutherford Sr. around 1852.