NHL photographer robbed of rare hockey souvenirs
Dave Sandford, an NHL photographer, was on a mid-season high last week, shooting the league’s sellout outdoor Winter Classic game at Michigan Stadium.
This week, the London shutterbug has hit a deep low.
While putting away Christmas decorations, the 40-year-old discovered hockey souvenirs he’s collected for nearly 20 years were stolen from his storage lockers in the underground parking garage of his luxury apartment building.
Among the nicked novelties?
Autographed photos of hockey greats like Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, and pucks from every playoff series since 1994. That’s on top of the jerseys, one-off hats and fleeces and jackets bearing the name NHL Images, his employer.
“I thought I was on the wrong floor for a second, and then I was like ‘Aw, man,’ said the sports photographer now in his 16th season with the NHL.
What was left of his belongings, he found strewn late Wednesday near the open locker cages.
Of all the missing items, one especially stands out — a puck Gretzky used in his final game at Maple Leaf Gardens,.
Sandford says he’s not sure of the value of the missing items, which were stored in boxes and bins covered with blankets and tarps at 500 Ridout St. N.
“I never planned to sell it,” he said. “It’s sentimental to me — it’s like a trip down memory lane when you rifle through everything you’ve obtained over the years.”
Also missing are several film cameras from his early career.
“I used (one of them) for my first net cam, shooting slide film, triggering one roll at a time,” he said, referring to the in-net camera view he’s become known for.
Police — aware of the loss — say the uniqueness of the missing goods could raise flags if someone tries to pawn them.
“Get a list, and be as descriptive as possible” reporting such stolen property, says London police Const. Ken Steeves,
But Sandford says it’s not easy to itemize stuff collected over a career that’s taken him around the world. And since there are no receipts for many items, he’s not sure if insurance will help.
“Just knowing that someone has ransacked your stuff, and gone through it all — I feel violated.”
- About 20 NHL and international hockey jerseys
- Autographed photos of hockey greats, two decades of playoff pucks.
- Nikon F100 and FM2 camera bodies
- A game puck from the Nagano Olympics
- An attendance certificate from final Maple Leaf Gardens game
- Samples of Sandford’s work
- Hockey equipment
- Novelty clothing and accessories