The Puck Junk Bad Hockey Card Hall of Fame: Class of 2018

Last year, I started The Puck Junk Bad Hockey Card Hall of Fame as a way to immortalize the very worst hockey cards ever made. Yes, cards like Wayne Gretzky or Bobby Orr rookie cards will always be a cherished part of the hobby — but so should cards that feature bad photographs or of even worse ideas. 

Thus, The Puck Junk Bad Hockey Card Hall of Fame Class of 2018 is an exciting mix of the bad, the ugly and the awful. These are all cards that you can’t un-see, yet they still make hockey card collecting an enjoyable hobby in their own weird kind of way. 

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Box Break: 2017-18 Panini NHL Stickers

I will be the first to admit that I’m a little slow when it comes to buying and opening Panini Hockey Sticker packs.

This is because I’m too cheap to spend $1 per pack (plus tax) for however many packs it takes to build a set; it’s usually over 100. I also don’t want to spend around $40 plus shipping on a box. So, I usually wait until the season ends. Then the price drops significantly, I purchase a box or two, and trade for or buy whatever stickers that I still need. 

Panini Hockey Stickers usually have terrible collation. Earlier this year, I purchased a 2016-17 box, and 57 out of 350 stickers (roughly 16%) were doubles. Despite shoddy collation, I still like Panini Hockey Stickers enough to try and build a set every year. 

However, this box might be a turning point for me with Panini Hockey Stickers because the collation was actually darn near perfect.

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Box Break: Farfield Triple Deke Box

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!

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Pat Falloon & Scott Niedermayer: The Case of the Missing Pro Set Insert Cards

1991-92 Pro Set #Cc3 – Pat Falloon
1991-92 Pro Set #CC4 – Scott Niedermayer

Longtime collectors will no doubt remember the 1991-92 Pro Set cards of Pat Falloon and Scott Niedermayer that were inserted into packs of 1991-92 Pro Set Hockey Series One, only to be pulled early on in production for reasons unknown. This caused the value of these two cards to soar during the early 1990s, becoming the stuff of legend, before eventually becoming the stuff of dollar bins. But what many collectors do not realize is that these two cards sparked a change in the hockey card industry. 

So what happened here? Did these cards disappear because they violated an agreement with the NHL, with the NHL Players’ Association or with Falloon and Niedermayer — or all of the above? 

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Multi-Pack Break: 2018-19 Upper Deck Tim Hortons

Make that 54 packs, to be exact

The Tim Hortons Collectors Series produced by Upper Deck is back for another hard-hitting and infuriating release, and let me say it is a widely popular event around Canada that brings out the best and worst of the collecting world.

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1996-97 Upper Deck Game Jerseys

Remembering Hockey’s First Jersey Cards

It’s a brisk, early morning in September of 1997. I’m sitting at a picnic table at an elementary school playground, just north of Pittsburgh. My nine-year old self is huddled up with a few friends, rummaging through the new cards we had acquired over the summer. We were all in awe over Jeffy’s Joe Thornton rookie card, when a boy with a Sidney Crosby-esque pencil mustache approached us.

“Pfft, you guys think that’s cool?” asked eighth grader Joey M. “Check this out.”

He laid something out on the table that blew our pre-pubescent minds: a Mike Modano 1996-97 Upper Deck Game Jersey card. We stared in amazement, like it was a winning lottery ticket.

Joey glared at us like we were mere peasants in his newfound collectors kingdom. He then slowly picked up the card and walked away, without another word, leaving us in utter disbelief. 

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2017-18 Upper Deck China Games Chinese Hockey Cards

Longtime collectors will remember when Upper Deck used to make hockey cards written in French for fans in Quebec in the early 1990s. Taking that idea to a whole new level, in 2017 Upper Deck issued hockey cards written in Chinese, and gave them to attendees of the NHL’s “China Games” — a two-game preseason series between the L.A. Kings and the Vancouver Canucks. The Kings won the first match 5-2 on September 21 in Shanghai, and again in the shootout 4-3 on September 23 in Beijing. 

The series marked the first time that NHL games were played in China, and for many in attendance, it was probably the first time they saw a live hockey game. Likewise, it was probably the first time many of the Chinese in attendance saw a hockey card too. Upper Deck gave away an eight-card panel of hockey trading cards. 

China may not be big on hockey, or hockey cards for the matter, but fans in attendance got some pretty sweet cards. 

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Rookie Cards of Every NHL Head Coach for the 2018-19 Season

Becoming a coach in the NHL may arguably be harder than becoming a player in the NHL. While the NHL has roughly 700 jobs for players — not counting call-ups from the minors — there are only 31 jobs for head coaches. Making the task even more daunting is that there is no clear path to become an NHL coach.

Sometimes, an accomplished NHL player is given a shot as an assistant coach when they retire. Other times, a player might spend their entire career in the minor leagues, retire from playing, and then work their way up through those same ranks again, finally appearing in the NHL, but as a coach. Some NHL head coaches never even played minor pro, instead opting to coach once their junior careers wrapped up. 

But all of these men have been involved in hockey before they became an NHL head coach, and therefore have at least one card chronicling their career. So, here is a look at every 2018-19 NHL head coach’s rookie trading card.  Continue reading “Rookie Cards of Every NHL Head Coach for the 2018-19 Season”

Review: 2002-03 Minnesota Golden Gophers Team Set

The 2002-03 Minnesota  Golden Gophers team set has a sharp design and is about as comprehensive as a team set can get. It includes everyone — everyone! — from future NHLers like Thomas Vanek to the team’s third-string goalie. 

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Deja Vu Tuesday: Doug Wilson

Chicago Blackhawks fans remember Doug Wilson as a workhorse –a gritty, reliable defenseman that always gave a sense of comfort and dependability when he was on the ice. Not-so-die-hard Hawks fans may remember him as one of the last players in the league to play without a helmet. After spending most of his playing career with the Blackhawks, Wilson was traded in 1991 to the brand-new San Jose Sharks. He played with the Sharks for two seasons before moving into a management position, now sitting as the team’s General Manager.

Upper Deck has made most of the hockey cards released over the past 15 years, and even though the card may not say “Upper Deck,” cards like SP Authentic, Parkhurst Champions and Fleer Retro are all made by Upper Deck. So, it is no surprise when the same photo of a player appears on different cards in different sets. There is one, less-than-flattering photo of Wilson that Upper Deck has used on various autographed and memorabilia cards over and over again. 

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