Asquith rink auctions donated items following theft of Gordie Howe jersey

The community of Asquith, Sask., is auctioning off its collection of donated sports memorabilia.

Items include jerseys signed by Gordie Howe, Sidney Crosby, Toronto Maple Leafs alumni

This signed Gordie Howe jersey will be one of the items auctioned off Wednesday. (Bodnarus Auctioneering)

The community of Asquith, Sask., is auctioning off its collection of donated sports memorabilia Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier this year, a signed Gordie Howe jersey, donated by Howe's distant relatives, was stolen from a storage room at the community's sports centre, putting the future of its ice rink in jeopardy.

The jersey was to be raffled off and the funds used to maintain the community rink.

Once news of the theft got out, the community saw an outpouring of donations and support from within the province and across the country. Replacement jerseys were offered, including another autographed Howe jersey.

"It was really overwhelming — [we felt] a huge sense of gratitude and it was just really amazing to see the outpouring of support," said Asquith rink board member Brandi McTavish.

The community was able to raise $17,000 for the rink in its most recent raffle. But McTavish said people beyond Saskatchewan's borders were interested in the donated items, so they decided to take the auction online.

McTavish said the auction will include a few Gordie Howe framed jerseys, a jersey signed by Toronto Maple Leafs alumni, another signed by Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, and a signed Mr. Hockey poster donated by Howe's family.

A signed Toronto Maple Leafs alumni jersey will be auctioned off to help raise money to keep the community rink in Asquith, Sask., open. (Bodnarus Auctioneering)

The items will be auctioned off live online on Wednesday afternoon through Bodnarus Auctioneering. There will be 30 pieces available, beginning at item 500 on the Bodnarus Auctioneering list.

"It would be great if we got a big dollar amount, but this is all over and above what we originally had anticipated so anything is good," McTavish said.

She said all the funds raised will be used to keep the doors of the rink open.

Asquith is about 40 kilometres west of Saskatoon.

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning