I voted today

No, I did not vote for the next President of the United States…that happens next month.

Instead, I (an American, go figure) voted for what I thought should be the new theme for “Hockey Night in Canada”.

Personally, I liked Canadian Gold by Colin Oberst better than the other finalist. Have a listen…

Now, you’re probably wondering why an American would care about this. Back in 1989, my family got a satellite dish–one of those big ones that are five feet in diameter. Not only could I watch a lot more hockey games than what was shown on SportsChannel at the time, but I could watch Hockey Night in Canada. I watched HNIC almost every weekend until I moved away to college. Like millions of other people The Hockey Theme grew on me. It is an awesome tune.

After not seeing Hockey Night In Canada for about a decade, I’ve decided to subscribe to the NHL Center Ice package, which means I can finally hear Don Cherry’s wisdom once more. But I’m kind of bummed that that totally badass tune will no longer be the precursor to the (usually) awesome match-up shown by CBC that night.

Tonight, I watched the Canucks/Flames game. CBC showed both anthem finalists during the second intermission, and Canadian Gold is the one I like better. Let’s hope it wins!

Puck Junk is 1 today

Puck Junk 1st AnniversaryWow, I must have had like ten other things on my mind if I just now realized that PuckJunk.com has reached its first anniversary.

I launched this site on October 5, 2007, although it had been an idea I wanted to do since late 2006. Once I decided to quit my 40-hour a week job as a web designer to concentrate on teaching and freelance, the abundance of free time allowed me to develop, launch and maintain this site.

But while my passion for all things hockey has not diminished, my free time has. While I was able to crank out 35 assorted articles from October to December 2007 (plus random blog posts), my output from January to September has been less than that–only 32 “real” articles as of this writing…though I do seem to be doing a lot of random blog posts about hockey stuff more so than last year.

A few things have gone down that have taken up a lot of my free time. I started dating this girl named Shellie in January, and things have worked out well–so well, that we are now living together. No complaints from her about my collecting habits, here, as she has hobbies of her own. Plus, I’m starting to get her “into” hockey.

Another thing that I have mentioned is that I started Graduate School. That is also eating up a good portion of my “free time”. As much as I love writing about old sets of cards, the idea of getting straight As in Grad School right now is a bit more appealing to me. Not only am I going back to college, but I am also writing for the school’s paper.

So, while I don’t always write on this site as much as I’d like to, it is always on my mind. Hopefully, with the hockey season now upon us, I’ll be able to get some new reviews up soon.

Sal is moving…

Sorry, no pictures…but I promise that this is interesting and worth reading.

Recently, I took one giant stride towards “acting like an adult” when I decided to move in with my girlfriend Shellie. More accurately, we decided to move in with each other. But she isn’t moving in at my place, and I’m not moving in at hers; instead, we are getting a “new” place together.

I am both excited and overwhelmed. So much to do…so little time to do extracurricular stuff, like update Puck Junk with new articles.

My planned move day is this Saturday. In the interim, I have been slowly moving things to the new place, which is conveniently 1/2 block away from my current place of residence.

I have been a man of many hobbies, from collecting GI Joe and Star Wars figures, to collecting vintage Transformers–including rare Japanese imports. And, let us not forget hockey cards and collectibles. Right now, hockey seems to be my “big thing”. I’ve never gotten tired of collecting hockey cards…but there have been years when I have taken a break from it. Eight years ago, I was really into Transformers. Four years ago, my number one hobby was GI Joe action figures (from the 1980s to present).

In the past few years, I have sold off much of my toy collection. Many times, I’d ask myself “Why did I buy this?” As in, “Why did I buy these bootleg Transformers toys?” Or, “Why did I buy four of this particular GI Joe figure?”. Or “Why the hell did I decide to start collecting Captain Power, Ronin Warriors, etc. etc?”

However, I have never regretted purchasing a hockey card. Sure, I’ve sold or traded cards, but only my doubles, or to get cards I really wanted. My Pro Set cards from 1990-91 are as meaningful to me now as they were back in 1990-91.

So, I’ve decided to concentrate most of my collecting efforts on hockey cards. There is just so much variety, so much history…so much undiscovered cool stuff out there, that I feel that this is a hobby I’ll never bore of. After all, it has been almost two decades.

Back to my move. One of the bedrooms in this new apartment will be for my stuff–a haven for Sal, and where no dogs shall roam (my girlfriend has three basset hounds–good dogs, but old cards do smell like gum, and dogs like to chew on things). One of my big plans for this room is to “consolidate the collection”. I have a lot of binders full of complete hockey sets–some of them are here, but most are at my Grandma’s house. Once I am settled in, I am going to purchase some tall bookshelves to store and showcase my card collection. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, and I am excited that I finally can.

I’m also going to frame and hang many of the autographed photos I’ve acquired throughout the years, including Denis Savard, Patrick Roy, Doug Wilson, Gump Worsley, Guy Lafleur, Marcel Dionne, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Al MacInnis.

My goal is for this room to look cool–but not too cluttered.

So, I won’t be updating this site for at least a week. I won’t have internet access at my new place until at least the middle of next week. Until then, I’ll be unpacking, building shelves, and doing the other two hundred things that need doing when you move to a new place.

Luc Bourdon is dead

bourdon_ripVancouver Canucks defenseman Luc Bourdon died on Thursday when he crashed his motorcycle into a semi truck. The Hockey News article regarding this can bee seen here.

Coincidentally, I traded away two Luc Bourdon cards earlier in the week–a Young Guns, and a game used card.

Upon hearing the news of his death this morning (via The Hockey News email newsletter, I of course was both surprised and a bit sad. I never saw this guy play, but I’m always sad when stuff like this happens. I was bummed when Jon Kordic died in 1992, and when Gaetan Duchense died last year.

It’s even sadder when it is someone who never got a chance to realize their true potential.

A player’s death always has one negative, albeit short term, impact in the hobby. All of a sudden, a card that was selling for $1 becomes a $10 card. This has already begun on eBay–not even 24 hours after his death. I saw Bourdon’s OPC rookie card from last year, with an asking price of $20–that’s more than what Evgeny Malkin’s RC in that set is worth. Some of Bourdon’s autographed stuff is going for over $30 now. I’m sure most of it would have sold for only $5 two days before.

When a player plays well, we try and cash in. When a player makes it into the Hall of Fame, we also try to cash in. And, when a player passes away–sometimes tragically–some people try to cash in on that too. That is one trend in the hobby that I never enjoy.

Denis Savard Appearance

Chicago Blackhawks head coach and Hall of Famer Denis Savard will be signing autographs this upcoming Saturday, March 1, at the Kmart Super Center in Tinley Park (16300 Harlem Ave.) at 3 pm.

Hopefully, I will be able to attend this signing. I have an old photo of Savard, from the 1989-90 season, that I would love to get signed. The picture is 11″ x 14″, so it is too big to mail to him. I also have some cards I can (hopefully) get signed too.

UPDATE: I went to the signing, and have posted about it here.

Blackhawks Convention – July 18-20

Things just keep getting better and better for Chicago Blackhawks fans this year.

It’s as if the team wants people to like them.

A few days ago, the team announced that it will hold the first annual Blackhawks Convention, July 18-20, 2008. The convention will feature autograph sessions and photo opportunities with former players such as Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Denis Savard. New players such as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will be there too. ‘Hawks broadcaster Eddie Olczyk will be the Honorary Chairman of the convention.

The full story can be read on the Blackhawks website here.

Semi-Pro trading cards

A classmate of mine from Second City (where I take improv lessons) gave me a three-pack of Semi-Pro trading cards.

And no, I don’t mean AHL or IHL trading cards from yesteryear.

These trading cards are based on the new Will Ferrell movie coming out on February 29. In the film, Ferrell plays the player/owner/coach of a minor-league basketball team that *could* become eligible to join the NBA if he can turn the team around.

Although Semi-Pro is a basketball movie–and this is a hockey site–these cards are just too cool not to show off:


Will Ferrell as Jackie Moon


Woody Harrelson as Ed Monix


AndrĂ© Benjamin as Clarence “Coffee Black” Withers

Produced by Upper Deck, these cards resemble the old Topps basketball cards from the 1970s, as that is when the film takes place.

Also included with the cards was a big pink stick of sugar free chewing gum. Yum!

NHL Series 20 lineup announced

McFarlane Toys recently announced the upcoming lineup of hockey figures that will comprise NHL Series 20:

– Daniel Briere (Philadelphia Flyers)

– Jarome Iginla 3 (Calgary Flames)

– Jonathan Cheechoo (San Jose Sharks)

– Nicklas Lindstrom 2 (Detroit Red Wings)

– Vesa Toskala (Toronto Maple Leafs)

– Daniel Sedin 2 (Vancouver Canucks)

You can read the full article on the McFarlane Toys website here.