Banner honouring Bill Riley goes from Moncton Coliseum rafters to yard sale
Bill Riley is at a stage of life that includes taking stock of his hockey career.
"It has just been lately that I have sat down and realized my accomplishments," Riley said.
Born and raised in Amherst, N.S., Riley was the first black Nova Scotian to reach the National Hockey League and was named the Washington Capitals rookie of the year in 1977.
Riley was also team captain for both the American Hockey League's Nova Scotia Voyageurs and the New Brunswick Hawks – a team he led to the Calder Cup in 1982.
"It's very, very difficult to win a championship at any level," Riley said.
But the moment that brings the biggest smile to his face was in March 1985 when a banner was hoisted to the rafters at the Moncton Coliseum.
"It's probably one of the biggest highlights of my career," Riley said.
Two years ago, the Moncton Wildcats moved to the Avenir Centre and the banners in the Coliseum came down.
"We all thought they were going to the Avenir Centre, which is normally the case," Riley said.
He was wrong, and had no idea where his banner was until he got an unexpected phone call.
"My daughter called me and said it was sold at a yard sale," Riley said. "And I said 'what?'"
It was later sold again to Dale Hubley, a sports memorabilia collector.
"I thought it would be a great addition to my memorabilia collection," Hubley said.
Hubley called Riley when he heard the back-story and told him it's not going anywhere until its final resting place.
"At this time, my goal is to get it back to the family," Hubley said.
Hubley also says if the Avenir Centre wants to hang it, they can have it, which would please Riley.
"You've got to preserve Moncton's hockey history," Riley said.
CTV Atlantic tried several times to contact the Avenir Centre, but we did not hear back.
The Moncton Wildcats said in a statement that when they moved in 2018, they had a large yard sale with many items.
"If Bill Riley's banner was sold, it was not intentional nor done with malicious intent. We truly appreciate Bill Riley's contribution to Moncton's hockey history."