This year’s set feels like it could have been made in the 1980s. It features a basic design and many cards: 500 base cards of current and retired players and 100 “Marquee Rookies.” A box of 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee consists of 32 eight-card packs. Here are the results of the box I opened: Continue reading
This month, I got the bill for NHL Center Ice, the pay-per-view subscription package that lets hockey fans watch every out-of-market NHL game. For $160, it’s a pretty good deal. But like all things, it could be better. In fact, the NHL could make Center Ice a lot better without even trying that hard. Here are five changes that would make Center Ice go from good to awesome. Continue reading
“Ahead of Its Time” (pages 6-8) is an article I wrote about a set of 13 different Montreal Canadiens figurines sold at Provigo grocery stores during the 1989-90 season.
I must extend a special thanks to fellow blogger Sebastien Hell (Hell’s Valuable Collectibles), who collected these figures “back in the day” as a 10-year old boy and spoke to me at length about them. His firsthand experience purchasing these toys was invaluable in putting together my article.
How I first discovered these figures has an interesting story. I used to frequent this collectible toy store in Elmwood Park, a suburb of Chicago, in the mid-to-late 1990s. One day, in the summer of 1997 (or was it ’98?) I found a Mats Naslund figure there, sitting in a display case with some M.A.S.K. and My Little Pony toys. Poor Mats had quite a bit of paint wear — must have been one heck of a season — and looked so out of place with the other toys. I bought the Naslund figure for $5, hoping one day to learn more about this mysterious figure that predated Headliners and even Starting Lineup figures.
Eventually, I found these figures on eBay, and picked up a few sets. I even displayed them on my shelf with my other hockey toys. I might be from Chicago, but the 1989-90 Montreal Canadiens was a pretty good team. And the Provigo Canadiens figures are a pretty cool set.
TeenyMates — perhaps the smallest hockey toys ever — made their NHL debut for the 2013-14 season. They are made by a company called Party Animal Toys, who also has a line of 3-inch tall sports figures called Lil’ Teammates.
So just how small are TeenyMates? They measure about an inch tall, just a smidge taller than a U.S. quarter. The figures are fully licensed by the NHL, and seems to draw inspiration from both Japanese anime — with their big, cartoony eyes — and the “Lil’ Sports Brats” keychains from the 1990s. Each figure has the team name across their helmet and the logo on their jersey.
A pack of TeenyMates costs $3.99 and contains two random figures, two random puzzle pieces and a pamphlet. One of the figures is wrapped, presumably so that it does not rub against the other figure, which could remove some of the paint. The puzzle pieces are two sided, with one side making up a rink and the other side making a poster of all 30 TeenyMates.
Recently, I opened four packs of TeenyMates and photographed the figures. Not pictured below but also included were two puzzle pieces per pack. Here are the figures I got.
In a set of 30 figures (not counting the four chase figures), doubles are to be expected. But getting the exact same two figures is a bit worrisome. Perhaps the figures aren’t packaged very randomly. That is, maybe every pack that contains a Flyers figure contains a Senators figure, every pack that contains a Red Wings figure contains a Canucks figure, and so forth.
What I like about TeenyMates figures: Incredible detail for one-inch tall figures.The smug looks on their faces makes me smile. The idea of getting a Nordiques or Whalers figure is pretty cool, though the odds on those are a bit long. The rink puzzle is a good idea, since it will give kids a “scene” to play with their TeenyMates figures.
What I dislike about TeenyMates figures: All the figures are exactly the same –how about a right-handed shot or a goalie for some variety? The collation seems questionable, at least based on the sample packages.
If you are a kid — or have kids of your own — then you might rate this product higher than the 3 1/2 pucks I gave it. Two figures for $4 isn’t so bad when you compare that cost to other blind-packaged mini figures, such as G.I. Joe Micro Force. However, I wish there was a little more variety in the poses used for TeenyMates. Party Animal Toys did release goalies in their line of Lil’ Teammates 3-inch figures; perhaps we might see a goalie or a righty skater in next year’s set of Teenymates, too.
Special thanks to Party Animal Toys for providing the packs for this break.
You can check out the TeenyMates website here.
Upper Deck Trilogy — or TRILO3Y as it is spelled on the box — was released almost three months before the 2013-14 season started! Lately, Upper Deck has divided their hobby boxes into three smaller “mini-boxes.” A 9-pack box of Trilogy is actually split into three 3-pack mini-boxes. This move was to address that collectors were reluctant to shell out $200-plus for an entire box, but also hesitant to buy a single pack since it may not have a hit. This way, a collector buying a mini-box is guaranteed to get a hit without committing to a full box.
Recently, I opened a mini-box of 2013-14 Trilogy. Here is what the three packs netted me: Continue reading
First, I interviewed Jeremy Roenick (“It’s Roenick – He’s Good,” pages 6-8). The video game NHL ’94 is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and Jeremy Roenick is considered the best player in the game. “I wish I was as good in real life as I was in that video game,” says J.R. in the interview. Besides his NHL ’94 legacy, Roenick also discusses what it is like to be a video game cover athlete, being name-dropped in the film Swingers, and lots of other cool stuff. Roenick is a lot of things, but he’s never dull.
If an interview with a video game (and real life) legend is not enough, I also wrote about the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks Convention (“Puck Powwow,” pages 16-18). The Blackhawks are one of the few NHL teams to hold a summertime convention, where fans can get autographs, attend panel discussions and participate in other cool activities. Several attendees and a dealer share their experiences from the weekend, while numerous photographs give you an inside look.
I know that some card shops have stopped carrying Beckett publications for one reason or another. I suggest checking a bookstore like Barnes & Noble, since they tend to carry almost everything in their magazine seciton. Or look online. Many dealers sell Beckett Hockey on Ebay.for less than the $10 cover price, and sometimes even include free shipping.
In The Game released their inaugural Enforcers trading card set during the 2011-12 season. Amid the silly controversy over the “blood-and-bandages” design was a pretty good set. Those who like fighting and the enforcer role in hockey no doubt enjoyed the first Enforcers set, which was chock full of hits (no pun intended); each box contained five autographs and two jersey cards featuring hockey’s unsung heroes.
Knowing a good thing when they see it, In The Game released Enforcers II last week. Like their first set, a 12-card box costs around $65. However, Enforcers II includes three jersey cards, but reduced the amount of autographed cards from five to four per box.
Here is the result of this box break: Continue reading
Yeah. That said, I’m still “all-in” when it comes to the hobby of collecting hockey cards. A few things have kept me away from this bliggity-blog, including playing in a low-level recreational hockey league, writing for Beckett Hockey and teaching college once again.
But another, more important “Junk” celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The album “Love Junk” by Canadian rock band The Pursuit of Happiness was released in 1988. It was TPOH’s first LP, and it went Platinum in Canada.
“Love Junk” is one of my favorite albums of all time. It was a big part of my college years. Good memories. I’ve lost count of how many times I listened to that CD. In fact, I drew inspiration from that album’s title when I decided to name my hockey card website “Puck Junk.”
And now you know.
TPOH is perhaps best known for their debut single, “I’m an Adult Now,” which was released in 1986 (as a self-produced single) then was re-recorded for “Love Junk” in 1988. Here’s their self-produced video for the 1986 version of the song. WARNING: contains 80′s hair!
If you’ve never listened to this album before — or it’s been a long time — you can hear it online on Groove Shark.
Anyway, thank you to everyone who has continued to read this blog throughout the past six years, despite my random bouts of inactivity here and there. I appreciate being a part of this small-but-passionate online hockey card-collecting community.
As always, I’ve got lots of cool stuff to share over the next few days. Stay tuned, and happy 2013-14 hockey season!
Fleer Retro Hockey is meant to appeal to collectors who fondly remember the 1990s: a time where gold and silver foil, holograms and chromium ruled the day. Each box contains six autographed cards and tons of 1990s-themed insert cards. A 20 pack box (5 cards per pack) costs around $115. Here are the results of the box I opened: