On the surface, the 2018 calendar year may have seemed a bit slow when it came to hockey cards and collectibles. Only one company makes licensed NHL hockey cards, so there is no real head-to-head competition. Still, that didn’t stop one card company from foiling the plans of another. Plus, there was plenty of competition in a record-breaking auction. A few other significant happenings took place in the world of hockey collecting. Here is my list of the top hockey collectible stories for 2018.
Happy New Year! Before we get into new content for 2019, I wanted to do a recap of Puck Junk’s most-read articles of 2018, and a brief update on what’s been going on with this website.
First, I am happy to report that readership at Puck Junk was at an all-time high in 2018. Traffic for this site grew about 37% between 2017 and 2018. And let me assure you, it is much more gratifying to write when more people read what I put up here.
The increase in readership was in big part because several new writers have joined the Puck Junk team, giving their unique perspectives on hockey and hockey collectibles. Their fine work has made it possible to update Puck Junk more frequently since the start of the 2018-19 season; perhaps you have noticed that this site has been updated almost every day since October?
Also, a lot of you wanted to know what happened to the Puck Junk Podcast and if it is going to return. It has been over a year since co-host Tim Parish and I recorded our last podcast. There are several reasons why the show has gone on hiatus, but basically it boils down to lack of time, technical problems and a decision for me to focus more on writing. Look, I love producing audio and video content, but those take substantially more time, and get substantially less traffic than a well-written article. But to answer the question, I think the Puck Junk Podcast will make its return sometimes this month, once I complete a large side project.
Anyway, below are the top articles that were published on Puck Junk during the 2018 calendar year. If you missed any of these, be sure to give it a read.
A Look at Each Inductee and Their Rookie Cards
The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted perhaps its most diverse group of honorees on November 12. Consider Martin St. Louis, who at 5 feet 8 inches was passed over in the NHL Draft because he was thought to be too small, and yet ended up being a leading scorer even at the twilight of his career. Then there is hulking, 6-foot-3-inch Aleksander Yakushev, who never played in the NHL but dominated during international play for the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Jayna Hefford was a mainstay for Canada’s international women’s team for 17 seasons, winning 12 gold medals, as well as becoming the all-time leading scorer in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Headlining the players’ category was Martin Brodeur, who is the all-time leader for NHL goalies in wins, shutouts and games played.
Inducted in the builders’ category was Willie O’Ree, who broke hockey’s color barrier 60 years ago as a player with the Boston Bruins, and then helped others follow in his footsteps for the past 20 years. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was also inducted as a builder for the growth the league has enjoyed over the past quarter century.
“He Will Take a Hit to Make a Play”
The first to the podium that night was NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. He is the longest-serving active commissioner of any pro sports league, and the only active pro sports commissioner to be inducted into a Hall of Fame.
“To imagine myself as a permanent part of this magical place is overwhelming,” Bettman said, “and I am thrilled to be enshrined in this Hall with this group of exceptional honorees.”
Bettman was the only 2018 inductee who never played hockey, but still took a humorous look at what kind of player he would have been: “The hockey scouting report on me would be something like this: lousy skater, not much of a shooter, you’re not going to outwork him, he’ll be strong in the corners and in front of the net, and he will take a hit to make a play.”
When Bettman took over as NHL Commissioner in February 1993, the league was a mess. Read the full article at Sports Collectors Digest.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.
The Blackhawks Convention has been a must-do for ’Hawks fans ever since the show started in 2008. This year, it took place on July 27-29 at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Chicago.
It was the 11th year for the popular show, where fans have the opportunity to meet and get autographs from players, shop for hockey merchandise and attend panel discussions. There is also an interactive room with activities like floor hockey, as well as a display from the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s a tried-and-true format that hasn’t changed much in the past 10 years. So, what could the Blackhawks do this year to mix things up and make the show feel fresh again?
For starters, the Blackhawks brought back two of its most iconic players: Jeremy Roenick and Chris Chelios. The pair were the most popular Blackhawks players during the 1990s, but neither had been a part of the Blackhawks Convention until now.
“It always seemed that the Convention was at the same time as something that I had already planned,” said Roenick, who played with the Blackhawks from 1988 to 1996. Read the full article at Sports Collectors Digest.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.
Get Free Upper Deck Cards at NHL Games
During the 2018-19 season, 14 different NHL teams, as well as two American Hockey League teams, will give away Upper Deck hockey cards. While these giveaway cards look similar to 2018-19 Upper Deck Series One Hockey cards, there are some differences that make these cards unique enough that they will appeal to player collectors, team collectors, or completest nuts like me.
For example, the silver foil is removed and replaced with standard ink. So, all team logos are in full color instead of silver, while the silver “swirlies” at either side of the logo are replaced with a dominant color from the team’s uniform. The Upper Deck logo is also de-silvered, and printed in color. However, the most interesting change is that some of these cards use different photos than what was used on the standard 2018-19 Upper Deck Series One Hockey card.
The first arena giveaway will be at the Anaheim Ducks game on Friday, November 23. The promotion will visit seven other NHL teams — and possibly several others — plus two AHL teams. Here is information on every team that is giving away these unique hockey cards, and how to get them. Continue reading “Every 2018-19 Upper Deck Hockey Card Arena Giveaway”
How the New Fees Affects Card Flippers
Over the last 10+ years, COMC.com (or Check Out My Cards) has been toiling away in the trading card marketplace, striving to become one of, if not THE leader in individual trading card sales. After having evolved from a small web portal known as LowPriceCards.com into the juggernaut that it is in a few years, COMC has emerged with an inventory of over 18.3 Million cards and sells and ships more singles to collectors all over the world than any other service provider.
Led by a sort of “grass-roots” style guerrilla marketing campaign (which to me appeared to be based mainly on word of mouth and appearances by COMC people at the big sports shows), I have seen COMC grow from servicing about 3 million cards in their inventory when I first joined to over six times that amount today. First joining COMC in the fall of 2013, I happened on the website after meeting the owner, Tim Getsch, at the National Sports Collectors Convention. The former Microsoft employee’s pitch was simple enough. “Just try it out,” he told me. “If you like it, stick around. If you don’t, feel free to email me personally and tell me why.” That’s what brought me into the fold as a user. Customer service and the feeling like the owner gets it will most likely win out with me in the end.
Fast forward to this past weekend and the “Huge Announcement” from COMC. Like any company that is looking to survive for a long period of time, the goal has to be to make money. Sure you want the customer experience to be the best and people to love you all the time and what you do but the existential aspect of running a business will eventually give way to the fact that pats on the back don’t pay bills. Continue reading “Changes In Store For COMC.com”
This weekend marked the latest entry for the Sport Card & Memorabilia Expo, which was held the weekend of November 9 to 11 in Toronto.
The show is fully stocked, from top-to-bottom, with exceptional memorabilia, unique autograph and VIP experiences, and of course cards. The show provides something for just about every type of collector in the market and you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a good time while in attendance.
Although most of the dealers stay the same from show to show, their offerings remain fluid and the inventory they carry has a decent turnover rate. This gives each show something new and exciting to look at every time.
The first thing that strikes me as I enter the show is the number of fake jerseys I see hanging from the vendor’s displays. They range from marginally horrible to outright hideous.
For most fans of sports, the only ghosts that concern them are the ones that haunt their teams, causing last-second losses or blown championships. But the Hockey Hall of Fame is not immune to its own ghostly apparitions.
By 1986 the Hockey Hall of Fame was running out of room. Sharing a space with Canadian Sports Hall of Fame was no longer viable. The Hall finally left its rigid confines in 1993, taking over the former Bank of Montreal within the newly developed BCE Place complex, but what they didn’t realize was the space was already occupied.
Not since the bearded women in Monty Python’s Life of Brian has a beard been as famous as the one belonging to the San Jose Sharks’ “Jumbo” Joe Thornton. Its removal earlier this week marked the end of an era, but will such a move affect his All-Star caliber abilities? Let’s look at a few similar cases as we pray for the best.