Hockey card similar to inspiration of Fifty Mission Cap – signed by the Tragically Hip – up for auction

By Terry Bridge, Stratford Beacon Herald

Most Canadians felt a connection to the Tragically Hip and late frontman Gord Downie.

Blair Babcock, a self-professed Hip fanatic during his high school and university days, certainly did. But he also had another sentimental link as his father, Larry, died in 2007 from the same type of brain cancer that claimed Downie last week.

“Almost 10 years to the day Gord Downie died,” Babcock said. “It hit home in that sense.”

Babcock has a pretty neat Tragically Hip keepsake in his extensive sports memorabilia collection, a Bill Barilko hockey card — similar to the one that inspired the 1993 song Fifty Mission Cap — signed by the band. Nearly 20 years after the musicians scribbled their names in ink, Babcock has decided to sell it and hand the proceeds over to a trio of charities as a tribute to both his father and the Canadian rock legend.

“I’m not necessarily sad to see it go at this point, I think it’d find a better home somewhere else,” he said.

The 1991 Pro Set card was signed in the late ‘90s while Babcock was attending Queen’s University in the Hip’s hometown. At the time his roommate’s sister went to prom with guitarist Paul Langlois.

“Johnny Fay, the drummer, had been over at her house when we were there, so we knew that she knew them, and so we got a whole bunch of stuff together and gave it to her and said, ‘Can you go get this signed for us?’” he recalled. “And she did.”

Since then the card’s been following Babcock around in a box, spending the last seven years in the basement of his Stratford home. After the eBay auction ends Thursday just past noon, it will find a new home.

As of Monday the leading bid is $3,050. That figure has already surpassed Babcock’s expectations.

“I was hoping around three grand,” said the 42-year-old musician and business owner. “I have no idea (how high it will go).”

As for the proceeds, 90 per cent will be split between the community foundations in Chatham-Kent — it has a memorial fund in Larry’s name — and Stratford, with the remaining 10 per cent going to the Sunnybrook Foundation’s Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research.

The local money is earmarked for Stratford Perth Community Foundation’s (SPCF) Stratford Smart and Caring Community Fund.

Stratford Beacon Herald

The link to the auction can be found here:

 Hip album sales soaring

Fans of the Tragically Hip flocked to the band’s music as they mourned the death of singer Gord Downie, which drove a huge boost in sales, streams and radio play. Eleven albums climbed onto the Billboard Canadian Albums chart for the week that ended Oct. 19. Downie’s family announced Oct. 18 that the Hip frontman had died. Overall sales for the band’s catalogue spiked 1,000 per cent, rising to a combined 11,000 equivalent units from 1,000 the previous week. The strongest performer was the Hip’s greatest hits compilation Yer Favourites, which rose to No. 2 from No. 182 the previous week. Pink’s new release Beautiful Trauma was No 1.