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.

Best $2 purchase ever!

I was thumbing through a binder full of miscellaneous hockey cards at the local card shop, and came across this beauty:

1974-75 O-Pee-Chee The HowesThe owner of the shop told me I could have it for two bucks. I informed him that this card was worth significantly more–even though the edges are a bit rough–but he said that I’m a good customer so he didn’t want much for it.

This card is very cool. It is from the 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee WHA set, and depicts Hall of Famer Gordie Howe along with his two sons Mark and Marty. This was Gordie’s first card in three years–his last being in the 1971-72 sets. But this card also serves as a rookie card for both Marty and Mark–the latter who would go on to play 22 seasons of pro hockey (six in the WHA followed by 16 in the NHL).

The card is not perfect. The edges have those typical OPC rough edges, and there seems to be a bit of a blemish to the right of Marty’s head. Nonetheless, for two bucks I ain’t complaining. It might be the best $2 hockey card purchase I ever made.

New acquisitions

A few weeks back, I attended the National Sports Card Convention, which was held right outside of Chicago. I was hoping to find at least one moderately-priced card from the 1963-64 Parkhurst set.

But that did not happen. Sometimes you find what you seek, and sometimes you don’t. I think that, after nearly 20 years of hockey card collecting, the key is to be open to deals that you are not necessarily looking for. So, while I did not get any cards from that landmark set, I still made an interesting purchase, acquiring three pricey cards and two oddball items.

Did I get a good deal? Take a look and judge for yourself…

Item #1 – Bobby Orr comic

This was an insert in the 1971-72 Topps set–and coincidentally, the last of the mini comic I needed to complete the 24-book set. The last two pages have a crease on the corner (a bit “dog-eared”), but there is hardly any yellowing and the colors are still bright.

Item #2 – Marcel Dionne rookie card

I absolutely love the design of the 1971-72 sets. Since I already have the entire Topps series from that year, I decided to turn my attention to the larger O-Pee-Chee issue. Dionne was a hell of a player, and is one of the pricer cards in this set. This card is not perfect–it has soft corners at the bottom and two very light creases…so light, that I did not even notice at time of purchase.

Item #3 – 1972-73 OPC Checklist #334

The ’72-73 OPC set intrigues me because it uses many different photos than those used on the ’72-73 Topps cards. Plus, there are cards of players from the World Hockey Association. This is the most expensive checklist in the set–even more so because this is the error card variation. Card #334 was printed twice–earlier incarnations list cards 335 to 341 as “More W.H.A. Hockey Stars”, while the card printed later corrected this, listing the actual names of the players.

Here’s a close-up of the back:

This checklist is unmarked, and surprisingly in good condition, with relatively sharp corners and decent centering.

Item #4 – 1980 Kelloggs’s Olympic Stick’r Cards Team USA

A neat little find, this undersized card is also a sticker. I didn’t know the likelihood of finding one of these again, so I snapped it up. I have written about this card here.

Item #5 – 1994 World Cup Soccer Wayne Gretzky

This was from an insert set in the 1994 Upper Deck World Cup Soccer set. Apparently, Gretzky was one of several “Honorary Captains”. I think the Charlton Guide lists this at $20, but I could be mistaken.

So, what did I pay for all of this hockey goodness? The dealer sold all five of these cards to me for $60 USD. I feel I got a pretty sweet deal.

But what do you think? Did I do good? Or were the old cards too low-grade for your tastes?

2008 Blackhawks Convention – Day Three

The Show
Due to a slower-than-usual CTA train, Shellie and I did not arrive at the Blackhawks Convention on Sunday until 9:45 am. The first thing we did was head for the autograph room. I was hoping to get Dustin Byfuglien’s autograph, but he did not show up at his scheduled 9:00 am time. I guess Big Buff and the boys had a hell of a time the night before, as seemed to be the popular story/guess. Continue reading “2008 Blackhawks Convention – Day Three”

Blackhawks Convention – Day One

Today was the first day of the first-ever (and hopefully annual) Chicago Blackhawks Convention. So far, I am having mixed feelings about this event. It has been a lot of fun, but overall it has been very disorganized.

Here is a recap of what I did on the first day of this event. Continue reading “Blackhawks Convention – Day One”

1963-64 Parkhurst #2 – Don Simmons

I have acquired another card from the almighty 1963-64 Parkhurst Hockey Set. This one is of Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Don Simmons.

1963-64 Parkhurst Don SimmonsThis card is in significantly better condition than the Gordie Howe card I purchased to start my set. But this card is not without flaws: it has some light creases, as well as a “dinged” upper-right corner. But for $6, I’m not complaining.

What I find interesting about this card is the “old” Canadian flag–basically a British “Union Jack” with some extra red. Aesthetically, this works well as a backdrop, as the red on this flag offsets the abundance of blue of the Maple Leafs uniform.

Two down, 97 to go…

Building the set of my dreams…

I’ve always wanted a complete set of 1963-64 Parkhurst hockey cards. Since a set is very expensive, I figured I’d try and build a set one card at a time. I decided to start at the top and work my way down…

1963-64 Parkhurst Gordie HoweGordie Howe is the most expensive single in the set. This one is not in great shape. It is yellowed and there is a crease across Howe’s face. There is a pin hole right above his head which has since been filled in with blue ballpoint pen.

And yet, I don’t care. Since I don’t have $400 for an EXMT Howe card, I figured that $40 for this one–despite its poor condition–would be well worth it. Even if I get all 99 cards in comparable condition, I would be ecstatic.

One down, 98 to go…

More reasons to love The Onion

The Onion–a satire newspaper published in the U.S.–is probably the only newspaper I read consistently. Sad but true. And oh so funny. Every now and then they lampoon hockey in their Sports section. Here are some of the more recent riffs–all Red Wings related, given their success:


Giant Squid Thrown On Ice To Celebrate Red Wings Hat Trick


Evil Red Wings Owner Wario Lemieux Steals Stanley Cup


Chris Osgood Gets To Third Base With Stanley Cup
This one is a full article, and a little off color.

Also,, there’s a good chance that people who aren’t video game player will get the “Wario Lemieux” reference. Mario Lemieux was nicknamed “Super Mario” in the 1990s after the popular video game character Mario from the Super Mario Bros. games. Wario, with his big nose and twisty mustache, is the evil version of Mario.