My Quest for a Fish Sticks Jersey

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2016: My “Fish Sticks” jersey still fits me. Good  thing it’s an extra large…

Back in the late 1990s, I went to an art and design school called Columbia College. It was located in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood, the southern part of downtown. Everything was expensive; only the really rich (business men, doctors and lawyers) or the really poor (college students and homeless people) lived downtown. I was always looking for cheap forms of entertainment. One day, that cheap thrill was getting an Islanders “Fish Sticks” jersey on clearance!

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Puck Junk Podcast #18 – Oct. 18, 2016

…with Sal Barry and Tim Parish.

Player not working? Listen to the podcast on SoundCloud.

What a week for hockey collectors! In this episode, Sal and Tim (@TheRealDFG) discuss the new “Topps NHL Skate” digital trading card app, Connor McDavid’s exclusive autograph deal with Upper Deck Authenticated and Jack Eichel’s arrangement with Leaf Trading Cards — and how collectors can get non-Leaf cards signed by him. Lots of awesome stuff here, so kick back, grab a beverage and hit that play button!

Total podcast time is 39 minutes 41 seconds.

Kickin’ theme music by Jim “Not the Goalie” Howard.

What do you think of the new Topps Skate digital trading card app? Or the Connor McDavid exclusive autograph deal with Upper Deck? Or with Leaf charging $75 to $125 for Jack Eichel to autograph your hockey cards? Leave a comment and let us know! ■

Review: 1992-93 Kraft Hockey


Editor’s Note: Rob Joncas is a new Puck Junk contributor. Please welcome him with a comment below.

The 1992-93 NHL season stands as one of the greatest in history for several reasons:

  • The Stanley Cup celebrated its 100th Birthday
  • Wayne Gretzky made his last appearance in a Stanley Cup Final
  • Mario Lemieux battled cancer and put on a scoring clinic, claiming an Art Ross Trophy that Pat Lafontaine had all but secured.
  • Teemu Selanne terrorized goaltenders around the league scoring, 76 goals and adding 56 assists  for 132 points.

Today we are taking a look at the 1992-93 Kraft NHL Set, which came with a special album. To some it was a perfect marriage Kraft products and hockey cards.

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Book Review: Saving Face


A goalie mask is as functional as it is visually appealing. It offers protection and allows self-expression. Perhaps that is why the goalie mask is arguably the most iconic piece of sports equipment; it serves a purpose, but is fun to look at too.

The same can be said about “Saving Face: The Art and History of the Goalie Mask.” Like the masks it chronicles, this book is as functional as it is visually appealing. Do not mistake “Saving Face” for mere eye candy: it is the ultimate history book on the subject of goalie masks.

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Four Great Connor McDavid Collectibles

Buy ’em before the prices go up


Yesterday, Upper Deck announced that they are now the exclusive seller of memorabilia autographed by Connor McDavid. This comes hot on the heels of the Edmonton Oilers naming McDavid their team captain last week; the youngest team captain in NHL history.

That said, if you were on the fence about collecting Connor McDavid memorabilia items, now is the time to do it. McDavid is quickly becoming the face of the NHL, and with that the demand for his autograph and other collectibles are going to go up. Signed items sold by Upper Deck are not cheap, but if you shop elsewhere, you can find items autographed by McDavid for much less.

Here are four collectibles — some autographed, others not but still unique enough to merit consideration — that are relatively affordable now, but may appreciate nicely in the future.
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Review: 1993-94 Pittsburgh Penguins

1_Mario_LemieuxDuring the 1990s, Pittsburgh-area grocery chain FoodLand sponsored an annual set of Penguins trading cards. Children in and around the Pittsburgh area could get a card for free by from an on-duty police officer, who probably stored the cards in their back pockets, forever keeping them from a BGS 10 rating.

But I digress. The 1993-94 Penguins set looks good and has cards of many star players who went onto Hall of Fame careers.

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Worthwhile World Cup of Hockey Items


The 2016 World Cup of Hockey ended over a week ago, but there is still plenty of merchandise to go around. Sure, a lot of it — like a drawstring bag with the fugly WCH logo or pretty much anything with a Team USA logo — will probably languish for a while before finding its way to discount chains.

But not all of the World Cup collectibles were dumb. Sure, I could do without the Team Canada drink cozy, but there are some items unique enough that they might be worth your while.

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Review: 1993-94 High Liner Greatest Goalies Set & Album


Back in the 1990s, I was so jealous of Canadian people. Not because of Canada’s universal health care system — I was too young to appreciate that sort of thing then — but because all of the ways Canadians could get hockey cards. In the U.S., if a box of cereal or a frozen pizza had a trading card enclosed, it was usually a baseball or basketball card.

At a glance:
– 1993-94 High Liner Greatest Goalies
– 15 Cards (size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″)
– One Mini Album
Download checklist

But in The Great White North, hockey cards could be found packed in boxes of cereal, at local McDonald’s restaurants and even with fish sticks! The 1993-94 Greatest Goalies set was found, one card per box, in specially-marked packages of High Liner brand frozen fish products. It is a 15-card set that goalie enthusiasts should not overlook.

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Book Review: One Night Only


What is it like to say that you have played one — only one — game in the National Hockey League? Is it with a feeling of accomplishment, knowing that you have reached hockey’s highest level, albeit for just a few moments? Or is it with a sense of regret — a longing to have done better? In his new book, “One Night Only: Conversations with the NHL’s One-Game Wonders,” author Ken Reid asks what it is like to be in this exclusive, yet somewhat infamous, club.

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Box Break: 2015-16 Champ’s Hockey


I’ve always had a fondness for Upper Deck’s Champ’s cards; they have a very unique and classy look about them, especially since they’re rather low-fi with only a light gloss coat over a picture that is suppose to look more like a portrait rather than a photo, and an O-Pee-Che-esque brown cardboard back.  They’ve also always included strange insert cards such as historical figures, high adventure locations and animals. OK, it’s interesting to ME, but I’m a scientist, so maybe I’m just weird and you all think it’s a waste of space where yet another Hal Gill common card could be hiding.  You can voice your disagreement in a comment below.

Champ’s had been sleeping since 2009-10, so I was excited to see it return. Being burned by sets that had almost no cards featuring my favorite team, I did wait until a full checklist of the set and subsets came out before buying a hobby box at $100.  If there’d been a famine of Carolina Hurricanes cards, I would have waited until a sale and then gotten them for 25% off.  Thankfully that was not the case.

A box contains 20 packs. Each pack has six cards. A box averages one autograph, two memorabilia cards, four high series cards, six inserts and nine parallels/variants. I don’t know if it was just my box or if it is because this is one of the last sets put out for the season, but if you like rookie cards, then this box is your jam because I pulled 22! There are so many crazy things about this set that I’m getting lost in the details just trying to write about it, so let me back away and get down strictly to what popped up in the box break.

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