After a signed Gordie Howe jersey was stolen from the Asquith community rink last January, community officials didn't think their annual raffle was going to happen.
But with help from people across North America they raised $17,000 Friday night, the highest in the raffles history.
"It has shown us there are truly a lot of good people in this world," said rink Treasurer Andrea Ganchar, who was at a loss for words "It erases the memory of all the bad."
This year's fundraiser was in jeopardy after thieves broke into the rink and stole the centerpiece of the raffle — a signed Gordie Howe jersey, donated by Chuck Boldis and his mother Diana Boldis, who's Howe’s niece.
"It was one of the last jerseys he signed and it was really special to this community," Chuck Boldis said.
What followed was an outpouring of support from across the country and the U.S, said Jodi Nehring, secretary for the Asquith rink board.
"It's been quite a journey I guess you would say," said Nehring.
According to Nerhring people offered cash donations and their own sports memorabilia to keep the fundraiser going, including a local family that replaced the stolen Howe jersey.
Out of the 2,500 tickets sold, Regina's Marshall Karn won that Howe jersey.
"When they first called me I thought it was a joke," he said.
"My friends and I put each other's names in the Ducks Unlimited auctions for a joke, so that's who I thought was calling."
"It was sort of a blessing they stole it because it put this community on the map," said Pat Peacock, who donated the replacement Howe jersey. "People didn't even know we existed and it brought a lot of donations for a community that needed a lot of help."
Because of donations, including other jerseys, arena officials believe they'll be able to support the rink for years to come.
The story also reached the Howe family in Michigan who donated their own jersey for a future raffle.
Asquith is about half an hour west of Saskatoon on Highway 14.
-with files from 650 CKOM's Brent Bosker and Chris Carr
On Twitter: @JTMarshallCKOM
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