John Balawejder on the Pittsburgh Hockey Expo:
First, can you tell us a bit about the expo. How the idea began and who runs the expo itself?
The idea began three years ago. Myself and some fellow collectors of Penguins game worn/used items got together and thought it would be fun to put on a free expo for the public. Joe Tomon of J & J Distributing and John Balawejder from Double Deke Hockey are the ones who run the expo.
If people have items they’d like to sell at the expo, how can they go about doing so?
We have a few dealer tables available for $75 a piece or two for $100. But fans can bring in rare/unusual pieces of memorabilia to sell to collectors/dealers as well.
How involved – if at all – is the Penguins organization and it’s affiliates – and how are they involved?
The Penguins sell the game worn jerseys and sticks to us but are not involved in any other way.
What are the big reasons why fans should come to the expo – and is this only for those interested in selling or purchasing a piece of Penguins history, or are there reasons for the non-buyer/non-seller to attend?
If you are a hockey fan in Pittsburgh, this is a can’t miss event.
First, its free. Second, its like walking into the NHL Hall of Fame, but there only being Penguins stuff. Third, you can actually touch/try on pieces of Penguins history from your favorite players. So you can walk in, not spend a dime, and have an amazing time, or you can walk out with a prize piece for your personal collection.
Card and autograph collectors, there will be items for you as well.
This year Phil Bourque is in attendance. What is Phil’s role and how can fans meet him?
Phil is good friends with one of our collectors. He is a special guest who will be signing autographs and hanging out with the fans.
Any other former players/personalities fans should look for at the expo? What others have attended in prior years?
This is the first year that we have had a special guest. But with it being so close to the arena on a game day, you never know who will stop in.
Have you seen representatives from sports history museums like the The History Center and Sports Museum come to the event to acquire items?
We have had some major auction houses come in to acquire items from collectors, but have not had anyone from the museums. A lot of what you will see if Hall of Fame worthy items.
What are some of the more unique pieces of Penguins history you’ve seen sold through the years – and what are some of the more unique items being sold this year?
Because it is a first come first serve event, we don’t reveal any of the items in advance. This keeps people from getting really upset that they missed out on a piece. All we can say is, get in line early. As far as in the past, most collectors hold onto their prized items, but here are a few of the amazing pieces of Penguins history you will see at the Expo:
Mario Lemieuxs game worn jersey vs NJ when he scored five goals five different ways
Mario Lemieuxs rookie NHL contract
Michel Briere’s photomatched game worn glove
Sidney Crosbys rookie game worn jersey
Tons of jerseys and game used items from all 3 Stanley Cup Seasons
Game Worn Jerseys from every season of the Penguins
What else should readers know about the event?
It takes place Saturday Sept 22nd 9am-4pm at the Epiphany Church Hall located right next to the Consol Energy Centers lower entrance at 184 Washington Place.
Doors open at 9am but get there early for best selection. Phil Bourque will be signing autographs from 10:30am – noon(subject to change without notice).
The equipment sale also starts at 9am. There will be game used sticks, jerseys, helmets, gloves, skates, and pants, many never being available for sale before.
Any last thoughts for readers?
If you like Pittsburgh Hockey, then the 3rd Annual Pittsburgh Hockey Expo is a can’t miss event!