Tikkanen auctioning off Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers Stanley Cup rings

“I’m not worried about how much they’ll sell for. Everybody knows I won five Stanley Cups. That’s the most important thing. Rings are rings, it’s the memories that are best”

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You can’t buy a Stanley Cup championship, but some rings are for sale.

With the Edmonton Oilers hoping to win their first championship ring since 1990, former Edmonton Oiler Esa Tikkanen is selling his gold and diamonds from that season.

The former super pest is auctioning off four of his five rings, three from the Oilers dynasty (1987, 1988 and 1990) as well as the one from the New York Rangers’ historic title in 1994.

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Tikkanen won four championships in Edmonton, but his Stanley Cup from his first season is not for sale. That’s the one with the deep sentimental value.

“I promised my dad that I would give him my ring if I ever won,” Tikkanen said in phone interview from Finland. “So I gave it to him and when he passed away I got it back. I’m keeping that one.”

But the others are available to the highest bidder.

Why? Tikkanen says he isn’t an overly emotional person and the rings have just been collecting dust for more than three decades.

“They’ve been in jewelry box for 30 years and they don’t fit on my fingers anyway,” he laughed. “I talked to my sons and they said ‘Why don’t you sell them then, a lot of other people are doing the same thing?’

“So I thought why not?”

He mulled it over in his head for a while but says he never really agonized over the decision.

“I talked to my sons they said to do it. A lot of other players have sold rings so why don’t I do it right now instead of later. I’m not going to take them into the grave with me and the boys don’t want them. So now is the perfect time.”

Edmonton Oilers 1985 Stanley Cup championship ring.
Edmonton Oilers 1985 Stanley Cup championship ring. Photo by File Photo /Postmedia

He says it isn’t about money and more about bringing the hardware back to life.

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“Why have them just sit in a box? If somebody else really wants them and feels it is special, then why not?

“I’m not worried about how much they’ll sell for. Everybody knows I won five Stanley Cups. That’s the most important thing. Rings are rings, it’s the memories that are best.”

In 2004, Bobby Hull’s 1960-61 Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup ring sold for $82,027.

Classic Auctions President Marc Juteau said it’s not unusual to see championship rings go on the market.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time and have sold a lot of collections, including quite a few rings from Mario Tremblay, and we did really well with them. We’ve sold rings for Jean Beliveau, the family of Maurice Richard and Guy Lafleur.

“Willy Lindstrom sold an Oilers ring a couple of years ago. It’s not unusual but it’s always very special because they are important pieces.”

Juteau said the Tikkanen collection is one of the best he’s seen in a while, though.

“I would say Esa Tikkanen’s are the most important Oilers rings ever offered on the market aside from maybe Peter Pocklington, who sold his rings quite a few years ago.

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“And this is the first Rangers players ring ever offered for public sale that we know of. This is a very important ring so if the right people participate in the auction there could be a big upside. And the Oilers rings as well, those are the most important players rings offered for sale.”

Edmonton Oilers Esa Tikkanen
The Edmonton Oilers vs the Calgary Flames, 1986. The Edmonton Oilers #10 Esa Tikkanen battles with Calgary Flames goalie #30 Mike Vernon on April 28, 1986 at the Saddledome in Calgary during game #6 of the NHL playoffs. Photo by File Photo /Postmedia

Tikkanen and the auction company have been kicking the idea around for nearly a year before he decided to go ahead with it.

“This has been an ongoing discussion, but he did tell right from the get go that he never looks at them, he never wears them,” said Juteau. “He doesn’t really need them and if somebody else really feels highly about them and are willing to play good money they can have them. It’s really difficult to put a value on them but I think they are going to establish new standards.”

As of Friday afternoon, the current bids for Tikkanen’s rings at Classic Auctions totalled $64,000, with the 1994 Rangers ring bringing in the highest bid so far at just over $27,000. Bidding tends to peak in the final days of the sale.

“It’s hard to tell what they sell for,” said Juteau, adding bidders register with the auction company and place their offer online or over the phone. “Ultimately they will be sold to the highest bidder when the auction closes on June 25.”

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As for seeing Edmonton back in the Stanley Cup Final again, Tikkanen is expecting a beauty of a series.

“I think all of Europe will be up at three in the morning when the games start,” he said. “The Oilers have a chance now to win another one. They have the best player in the NHL.”

Asked if he has any advice for this year’s Oilers, Tikkanen said they should do their best not to give in to guys like Tikkanen.

“(Evander) Kane and those guys have to keep cool,” he said, adding antagonists love when they get a reaction. “If Florida wants to run around, let them. If you start acting out after every hit you’re going to be in trouble.

“In the finals the referee will let you play a little bit harder and you have to play that way. You have to take a hit, you have to give a hit. But you have to stay out of the box. Edmonton has such a special power play, Florida has to be careful.”

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