Despite Issues, Connor Bedard Game-Used Jersey Fetches $37K

When Exactly Was It Worn? And Why Frame It?

By Sean Sullivan

Connor Bedard mania has run wild throughout the hockey-collecting community this season, and on April 18, the game-worn jersey collecting segment joined in on the fun – but not without some controversy. The first-ever Bedard game-worn jersey sold at an auction for $37,200, plus fees. 
The Chicago Blackhawks Foundation held their end of season auction this past week featuring game-worn jerseys of Connor Bedard, Kevin Korchinski, Alex Vlasic, Nick Foligno, and a Jack Daniels whiskey barrel from the 2023 Nashville NHL draft (you can’t make this stuff up, folks).

These are the first Blackhawks game-worn jerseys made publicly available of these players from this season. Game-worn jersey collectors had been clamoring for news on what the Blackhawks were going to do with their jerseys from this season.

While there was initial excitement at the announcement, the community soon found the reality of the situation: the jerseys were all framed, there was no detail at what point of the season they were worn, and, besides Bedard, none of the other jerseys were even pictured in the auction (the team Photoshopped the names and numbers of the other players onto Bedard’s jersey).

The frames also contained a piece of the net Bedard scored his first goal into and a signed ticket from his first career game in Pittsburgh.
While some collectors don’t mind a framed jersey, game-worn jersey collectors want to know what they are getting. For those unfamiliar with the game-worn collecting hobby, it operates quite differently than the card collecting hobby, where collectors hope their Bedard Young Guns rookie card will grade a gem mint 10.
Game-worn hockey jerseys can contain marks from sticks and puck, board burns from impacts with the boards at high rates of speed, sewn repairs to cuts and rips in the fabric…the more the better for most game-worn collectors. Matching marks, repairs and other features to the jersey are an important step in authenticating a jersey and matching it to an event, such as Bedard’s first home goal or multi-point game.

Not only did the frame offer less than half of the jersey being visible, what was visible contained zero game wear. Game-worn jersey values and desirability are often tied directly to the amount of wear and/or the ability to match a jersey to a moment.

Unfortunately, collectors were basically bidding blind. Was this worn one period? For five games? When asked, a team rep stated it was worn from January to March 2024, but based on the lack of any visible wear, the game-worn community is skeptical at best as the team is not historically one that carefully tracks those facts. It certainly was not mentioned in the auction listing. Due to his injury, Bedard played zero home games in January, six home games in February, and five home games in March, though I doubt it was worn in that many games. 

As collectors have found over the years, dealing with teams, trust but verify – and there was little available to verify.
Additionally, the jerseys are attached to a board used in the framing of the jersey. While a team rep assured those who asked that the jersey was not glued down (which would be the worst-case scenario due to probable glue stains), they used ‘fabric tacker’, which could potentially have damaged the jersey. If a game-worn collector won this, my guess is the first thing they will do is remove it from the frame in the hopes of what they may find. Much like opening a high-end unopened wax pack, that is quite the gamble, especially at this price point. I know the winner of one of the other jerseys in this auction and they will be cracking open the frame as soon as it is received.
For reference, the sales of the last few “generational talent” player rookie game-worn jerseys from the last few years include a photo-matched 2005-06 Sidney Crosby Penguins black jersey selling at Leland’s Auctions in February 2024 for $80,463.60, and a 2015-16 Connor McDavid Oilers orange retro jersey worn in his first home game selling at Classic Auctions in 2021 for $69,769.20.

While Bedard has a lot to prove to be on the same level as those two amazing players, the Blackhawks certainly cost their foundation additional bids in how the jersey was brought to market. The Crosby and McDavid rookie-year jerseys were able to be matched to certain goals or games, helping both the desirability and the price. Several collectors in the market for a rookie Bedard told me they avoided this auction entirely as they did not want to roll the dice on an unknown.

Whoever won, I hope they are happy with their gamble and will eventually share it with us all! – Sean Sullivan

Note: This article is an updated version of an editorial that originally appeared in Volume 2 – Issue 17 of the Puck Junk Newsletter. For stories like these, plus news and updates about hockey cards and collectibles, subscribe to the newsletter here.

Love hockey? Join the Puck Junk Facebook Group, listen to the Podcast, subscribe to the Newsletter and YouTube Channel, and support this site at the Online Shop.

To learn more about the history of Chicago Blackhawks game-worn jerseys, visit Sean’s website and follow him on X/Twitter @Sulli26.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *