Review: Legends Trumps Game

The Pocket-Sized Hockey Hall of Fame

If you enjoy card games like “Trumps” — where the highest card wins — or “Go Fish,” but wish they somehow involved hockey, then you should check out Legends International Ice Hockey Trumps Game. It is a new card game from Switzerland that features 40 eye-catching illustrations of the best hockey players from around the world.  

Sold as a full deck online, Legends Trumps Game shows your favorite Hall of Fame players like you’ve never seen them before. 

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Box Break: 2016-17 MVP Hockey

Upper Deck’s MVP Hockey Set was released two months before the start of the season, making it the first hockey card set of 2016-17. Sets released before the start of the season cannot include cards of players who were drafted over the summer or who have not yet played in a single NHL game, so the rookies found in MVP are players who made their debut late last season. Thus, no Auston Matthews or Patrick Laine in this set, though you can hope to pull a rookie redemption card to get cards of those players mailed to you at a later date. 

A box of 2016-17 MVP costs around $40 and contains 20 packs. Each pack has eight cards. Although the set came out earlier in the season, I finally opened a box of 2016-17 MVP Hockey. Here is what I got. 

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1994-95 Upper Deck Hockey promo card

Upper Deck issued a promotional card of Wayne Gretzky to show what their upcoming 1994-95 Upper Deck Series One Hockey set would look like. The promo card is nearly identical to the card of Gretzky found in packs later that fall. However, there is one small difference that is quite obvious when you know what to look for. 

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1994-95 Upper Deck Hockey Variations

Four cards in 1994-95 Upper Deck Series One Hockey have variants. Cards of Mario Lemieux, Igor Larionov, Sergio Momesso and Mike Sillinger were produced with two different numbers on the back.

Below are pictures of each of the four cards’ fronts, plus pictures of both back variants. 

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Justin Bieber Custom Hockey Cards

The NHL held a celebrity hockey game, called the 2017 NHL All-Star Celebrity Shootout, prior to the All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday. Unfortunately, the game was only shown online, and while the webcast could have been so much better, the game was still fun to watch. 

Singer, songwriter and pop icon Justin Bieber was among the celebrity hockey players, and while I am not a fan of his music, I will admit that he did very well for himself in the game. Bieber’s skating was solid, and though his slap shots left a lot to be desired, he drew a penalty, assisted on a goal and popped in an empty-netter at the end of the game. 

So, I decided to make some custom Justin Bieber hockey cards, because he was arguably the most-skilled celebrity at the All-Star Celebrity Shootout.

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1990-91 Score NHL Hockey Player List

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Unlike most of the other hockey sets from 1990-91, Score did not bother to put checklist cards in their hockey cards sets that year. However, collectors who wanted a complete list of the available cards could mail away for a page-sized (8 1/2″ by 11″) checklist. It is actually quite attractive, printed in red and blue ink and neatly lists the cards in six columns on a single side of a page. 

1990-91_score_checklist_page

The “1990 NHL Hockey Player List,” as it is called at the top, lists all 440 cards, including the different “American-only” and “Canadian-only” variants, as well as the five special Eric Lindros cards that were available only in the boxed sets. A key that runs along the bottom of the page deciphers the different subset cards, such as Record Setters (RS), Trophy Winners (T) and ’90 Prospects (P). 

The offer was advertised on packs of 1990-91 Score trading cards. 

1990-91 Score Hockey pack (Photo credit: @LindyRuffsTie)

 You had to mail in $1.00 and wait six weeks.

The back of the wrapper advertised the checklist offer. (Photo credit: @LindyRuffsTie)

 The full text reads: 

1990 SCORE NHL HOCKEY CHECKLIST
To order your complete 440 player card checklist, send a check or money order for $1.00 (U.S.) made payable to Major League Marketing along with your name and address on a 3″x5″ card and mail to: 1990 SCORE NHL Hockey List, Major League Marketing, 25 Ford Road, Westport, CT 06680. Connecticut residents add 8% sales tax. Promotion good while supplies last. Allow six weeks for shipment. 

If I recall correctly, the checklist was mailed in business-sized envelope. My checklist is folded in thirds horizontally, and would fit perfectly in a #10 envelope. (As a kid, I folded it a few more times so that it would fit in a box with cards.)

With companies putting their complete trading card checklists online, mailing away for a paper checklist today seems almost unthinkable; even more pointless than putting checklists in the packs of cards, like some companies still insist on doing.

But just imagine a world where you would write a letter to a card company, ask them for a paper checklist, and then they would mail one to you six weeks later. We used to live in that world. 

Did you send away for one of these 1990-91 Score Checklists back in the day? Did it help you keep track of your set? Did you actually mark it up? Leave a comment below. ■

Special thanks to @LindyRuffsTie for providing the Score pack images.

Box Break: 2015-16 Panini Anthology Hockey

Hi, have we met? Good, then you know I hate Panini. But I do love a good deal when it comes to hockey cards. A little while ago I found a “box” of Panini Anthology cards marked down from $125 to $45 “for a limited time.” Spoiler Alert: they’re still $45 everywhere. Now, before I get to the cards, let me tell you about the “box,” yes in quotation marks. Pandora’s Box was easier to open and frankly had less regrettable contents than this “box.” Here is what I had to do to get inside:

STEP ONE. Get my knife out and cut off the shrink rap.

STEP TWO: Slice open the plastic seal at the lid of the box.

STEP THREE: Open the box. 

STEP FOUR: Come the realization that the box was housing a smaller box…ALSO IN SHRINK WRAP!

STEP FIVE: Get my knife out AGAIN and slice open the second layer of shrink wrap.

STEP SIX: Open the INNER box.

STEP SEVEN: Shake the little box violently to remove the six cards housed inside that also has a block of polystyrene holding them in place with a vacuum seal!

So I’m already pissed off at these cards because of this and I haven’t even seen them yet. They must be something special and awesome for this much trouble and for a company to ask well north of a C-note in price.

God, you disappoint me so much, Panini. 

I’ve never opened a pack/box of cards that unsatisfactory to me as much as this and after that much work. You know when it’s the Fourth of July — or “July 4th and oh God is America attacking??” if you’re in Canada — and you see a rocket shoot off into the night sky, zipping in a squirrelly fashion and leaving a bright trail of sparks behind it? The sparks trail off into the darkness and you’re all like, “ooooh, this is gonna be a big one!”….aaand nothing, it’s turns out to be a dud that falls back to the earth unseen and unheard from again.  That’s this box of cards.

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Review: 1991-92 Pro Set Platinum Hockey

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#26 – Ed Belfour (view back)

It was a frosty Chicago afternoon in late December of 1991. I was on break from school. The “Christmas money” was burning a hole in my wallet. It burned hot enough to make me brave the cold and venture out to the local mall. For those who grew up in Chicago, the mall I speak of was the Brickyard. Back in its heyday, the Brickyard Mall was Chicago’s premier indoor shopping center. It was torn down in 2002 and rebuilt as an outdoor monstrosity, but I digress. 

#52 - Wayne Gretzky
#52 – Wayne Gretzky (view back)

The Osco Drug store at the Brickyard had one side of an entire aisle dedicated to just sports cards. But behind the camera counter is where they kept the good stuff; cards like Upper Deck or Stadium Club, and not the usual 50-cents-per-pack swill like Topps or Score. Behind the counter was a full, unopened box of hockey cards that I had never seen before: Pro Set Platinum Series One. 

At a glance:
– 1991-92 Pro Set Platinum Hockey
– 300 cards
– 20 “Platinum Collectible” inserts
– Size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Download checklist

Man, was I excited! Even though I religiously read Beckett Hockey Magazine, this was the first I had heard of Pro Set issuing a high-end set of hockey trading cards. I don’t recall what they cost, but I think they were around $1 per pack. I eagerly purchased the entire box. I hurried home and opened every pack while sipping hot cocoa, and made two complete, 150-card sets; the good old days indeed.

Pro Set Platinum Hockey logo.
Pro Set Platinum Hockey logo.

Now, 25 years later, I think it would be fun to take a look back at the first, last and only set of Pro Set Platinum hockey cards.  Continue reading “Review: 1991-92 Pro Set Platinum Hockey”

Wendel Clark Recalls His Saskatoon Blades Hockey Poster

wendel_clark

In his new autobiography “Bleeding Blue: Giving My All for the Game,” Wendel Clark reflects on his first year of junior hockey with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League. What impressed Clark so much was that he had his own hockey trading card and his own poster to sign for fans at autograph sessions. However, something about the poster wasn’t quite right, Continue reading “Wendel Clark Recalls His Saskatoon Blades Hockey Poster”