Last week I dropped in to my local Target store to shop for leftover Halloween candy, to leave a few snakes hidden in the toy aisle and nab the latest issue of Cosmo (hair care tips, bro!).
I decided to swing by the cards to see if there were any overpriced Upper Deck tins I could sneer at, walk away from and feel better about myself for being a cheap skate. Now, most of the time, there are mixed boxes of random packs of sports cards; usually baseball, football, and basketball, but almost never hockey. Lo-and-behold! Target actually had some in an unassuming product called the Triple Deke Box for $14.99.
Not stopping to consider how bad of a name this is, I bought it anyway out of curiosity and it promised — PROMISED!!! — an autographed card and memorabilia card along with “3 Card Packs” and “1 Hobby Pack.” OK, so you mean four packs? Pictured on the box are three cards that you will never find in one of these things: autos of Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid and Auston Mathews. While NOT promising this, the box did tease “Look for randomly inserted redemption cards for bonus items,” which are presumably rookie cards for current ECHLers who sell cars in the summer time. BUT LET’S TAKE THE DIVE!
MY PROMISED HITS
Todd White, 2006-07 Be A Player Signature
Jakob Chychrun, 2016-17 UD Ultimate Hockey jersey swatch
Well this was to be expected. One was a career straddler of the NHL and AHL and the other is currently burning it up in the home mortgage business. (Editor’s Note: Chychrun is actually recovering from a knee injury, but Jim’s explanation is much funnier.)
What else do we have in here…
2003-04 Quest for the Cup pack
Got five cards in this pack: Eric Cole, Christopher Higgins, Patrick Lalime, David Aebischer, and a Pacific Complete card of Jose Theodore to round it out.
2017-18 UD Series 2 retail pack!
Another stellar example of filler material at a semi-premium, this features a whopping five cards, including a pensive Kyle Palmieri either trying to wonder how his poor life choices left him abandoned in NJ or just leaving the most boring haunted house ever.
1990-91 NHL PRO-SET Series 2: “THE HOTTEST CARDS ON ICE!”
Now we’re talking! Let’s set the way-back-machine for era of hard hitting hockey in a time when Vanilla Ice was destined to be the best things since the Beatles and MC Hammer fortunes would never run dry! This pack featured 16 cards, 11 of which are hockey players! Marcel Dionne was the biggest name in the pack, but there were other great household names like Jiri Hrdina, Bruce Shoebottom (I hope his ancestors were cobblers and not surfs who scraped manure off the bottom of Aristocratic shoes), and Todd Gill! So what are the other five cards? Well there’s a Toronto Maple Leafs trivia card (did you know they were Stanley Cup runner-ups in eight years?), Bryan Murray and Rick Ley coach cards, Ron Finn on ice official card (why are there no Tim Peel cards?), and a COUPON for 10 cents off your next order from the Pro Set merchandise catalog.
Damn UD, why don’t you put coupons in your packs these days? If you’re just looking at these cards for the names, save your money. But if you look closer, you’re gonna find some very special things hidden in the backgrounds.
2017-18 UD Series 1 hobby pack!
Another low-energy group of players, rounded out with Jake Allen and his one good eye (you can ask me about this if you’re curious), but the pack was fruitful enough to produce a Mikko Koivo jersey card, so I’ll call it a win.
Was it worth $15? Oh hell no! But sometimes it’s nice to take a little gamble for the fun of it, and it beats coughing up $100 on a hobby box that will likely yield similar results. If I had to assign this a rating, I’d give it…IDK…Two Aquamans and a Fairy Batman out of 12 X-Men, or something. ■
Jim Howard is a Carolina Hurricanes fan and reformed baseball card collector who is trying to keep the hockey collection from becoming overwhelming. And while he wishes he could give Crosby the business with his mitt, he is in fact NOT the goalie for the Red Wings.