Three Spooky Hockey Stories

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Hockey can work very well as the basis for a scary story. The game is played on ice — a cold, unforgiving environment that seems so alien when compared to a green baseball field. Hockey players wield sticks, wear masks, hit each other and fight. It is a violent, sometimes bloody sport; even more so 40 years ago. So it is not surprising that hockey found its way into the pages of several horror-genre comic books in the 1970s. Just in time for Halloween, here are three spooky hockey tales pulled from the pages of vintage comic books.
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Pittsburgh Penguins “Man In Black” Promo Cards

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Back in the 1990s, many unlicensed hockey cards were made by those looking to quickly — and illegitimately — cash in on the booming sports trading card industry. Some of the more notable fake cards that circulated include a card of Wayne Gretzky as a member of the WHA’s Indianapolis Racers, and another that featured Eric Lindros, Sergei Fedorov and Ed Belfour.

Allegedly, a men’s clothing store called “Man In Black” put out a cheap-looking, six-card set that featured popular Pittsburgh Penguins players. While the Penguins in the 1990s were great, these cards of them are awful.

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Box Break: 2016-17 Artifacts Hockey

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Upper Deck issued its new Artifacts Hockey set at the start of this season, making it one of the earliest releases for 2016-17. A box costs around $85 to $90 online and has eight packs. Each pack has four cards. The box states that you can get “3 Autograph, Memorabilia or All New Aurum Cards & 4 Serial Numbered Cards!” in the box, on average. I recently busted a box of 2016-17 Artifacts — here’s what I found:

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Book Review: The Red Kelly Story

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Leonard “Red” Kelly had four careers. He spent roughly the first half of his 21 years in the NHL as a defenseman, and the latter half as a forward. Kelly also served in Canadian Parliament for two terms and later coached in the NHL for a decade.

So, it is hard to believe that it took 50 years since Kelly’s final shift — he was on the ice when the Maple Leafs won their last Stanley Cup in 1967 — for a book to be written about him. While there was a short children’s story about Kelly in the 1970s, “The Red Kelly Story” gives the eight-time All-Star the all-star treatment that he deserves.

Now 89 years old, Kelly has done more in one lifetime than most people could do in four. Continue reading “Book Review: The Red Kelly Story”

My Quest for a Fish Sticks Jersey

Not Available in Your Freezer Section

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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

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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

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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

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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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