Replacements offered for Gordie Howe jersey stolen in Asquith, Sask.

People have stepped up to help the community of Asquith, Sask. where an autographed Gordie Howe jersey, which was to be auctioned off, was stolen over the weekend.

Lloydminster sports store owner offers replacement for jersey intended to be sold as community fundraiser

Mike Mernuck has offered a custom-framed and signed Gordie Howe jersey to replace one which was stolen from the community of Asquith over the weekend. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)

People are stepping up to help the community of Asquith, Sask. after a jersey autographed by the late Gordie Howe was stolen from a storage room over the weekend.

The jersey was to be auctioned off as part of an annual community fundraiser.

Jodi Nehring, with the Asquith community sports centre, said the fundraising loss could mean the difference between playing or not playing hockey next year for some kids in Asquith.

​"I was really upset, devastated," said Mike Mernuck of the news. "That's like you coming into my house and stealing food off the table that's for my kids. You know, it hurts." 

Mernuck runs Golden Horseshoe Sports and Collectibles in Lloydminster. He and his wife, who have been donating to charities for decades, were touched by the fundraising effort for kids in Asquith.

So Mernuck said they're offering a replacement jersey, which is signed, certified and custom framed. 

"I'm hoping I can help them out in some way or another with their fundraiser and I'm glad to do it."

Looking forward

Nehring said they have received multiple offers to replace the jersey, including the offer of a Sidney Crosby jersey, but none are framed, which would have been an additional cost.

"We're completely blown away by the generosity," she said. 

Nehring said a meeting will be held to determine how to proceed and how to honour each individual who has offered to help. 

It's not just a fundraiser for one year, she said. There will be more children in other years who will need funds to be raised. 

"If they're still interested in moving forward with us, we'll put them to good use," Nehring said of the offers. "There's multiple years and more children to come as the years go on that we hope to support with this rink."

The same process of fundraising process happens every year in the community, she said. 

"It's a struggle to keep the doors open but we're committed to do it for our community and for our children."

With files from Victoria Dinh