Bobby Hull exclusive figure in Phoenix

On January 19, 2008, every fan attending the Phoenix Coyotes game will receive an exclusive SportsPick figure of Bobby Hull in his Winnipeg Jets jersey. The figure will be of the miniature variety, standing about 3 inches tall.

Both Todd McFarlane (the owner of McFarlane Toys) and Bobby Hull will be in attendance at that game, and will sign autographs during the first intermission. According to the article on Spawn.com, only the first 75 people or so will get an autograph.

This particular game will be special for Hull, as the Coyotes play the Chicago Blackhawks that night. Hull spent 15 years playing for the ‘Hawks, followed by seven years with the Winnipeg Jets. In 1996, the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix and became the Coyotes, but still honor former Jets players.

More photos of the figure can be seen here.

I am interested in acquiring one of these figures. If anyone would like to trade one, please Contact me.

Wayne Gretzky Hallmark Keepsake Ornament

Hallmark Hockey Greats, 1997

Wayne Gretzky Ornament - box frontDuring the 1997 holiday season, Hallmark debuted its “Hockey Greats Series” of Christmas tree ornaments. Not surprisingly, The Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky, was the first player to be featured. Measuring about 4 1/2″ inches tall, this handcrafted, well-detailed ornament has Gretzky decked out in his New York Rangers jersey. Also included was a special Upper Deck trading card that was only available with this ornament. Continue reading “Wayne Gretzky Hallmark Keepsake Ornament”

Distorted Defenseman

1972-73 Topps Keith Magnuson – Card #87

Considering that the 1972-73 Topps Hockey set was comprised mainly of posed shots – with a few grainy game-action photos here and there – this stands out as the strangest card from that set…and quite possibly the 1970s. I mean, what could possibly top this distorted photograph of hockey tough guy Keith Magnuson?¬† Continue reading “Distorted Defenseman”

Review: 1993-94 Leaf Painted Warriors

Ten-card set a must for goalie collectors

1992-93 Leaf Painted Warriors Kirk McLeanOne of the coolest things that makes hockey so different is the uniqueness of the goaltender. Not only do hockey goalies wear padding all over their body to stop flying pucks, but they can have their mask painted any way they want – a tradition that started with Gerry Cheevers in the 1970s and continues to this day. You would never see a football quarterback paint his helmet differently than his teammates, or a baseball power hitter emblazon his batting helmet with his nickname. But in hockey, this is perfectly normal – hell it’s almost expected. From Cheever’s “stitches” to John Vanbiesbrouck’s “Panther”, custom goalie masks are as much a part of the game of hockey as an open ice hit, the slap shot or the Zamboni itself.

In 1993, Leaf Trading Card company released “The Leaf Set”, a high-quality hockey card set which featured several insert sets. One of these was a ten-card set called “Painted Warriors”, which keyed in on ten of the best goalies of the 1990s. Continue reading “Review: 1993-94 Leaf Painted Warriors”

Don’t Mess With Messier

1990-91 Score Canadian Mark Messier – Promo Card

Every now and then, trading card companies release promo cards to dealers and distributors, to show off what a new card set will look like, and hopefully increase orders for the product.

In the late summer of 1990, trading card manufacturer Score issued several such promo cards for their 1990-91 Score Hockey set. The promo cards were almost identical to the actual cards that were issued in the set a few months later.

But not this card.

Continue reading “Don’t Mess With Messier”

Review: 1987-88 Topps Hockey

Robitaille and Oates stand out in this sleeper set.

1987-88 OPC #15 - Mario LemieuxDuring the 1986-87 season, Topps increased its hockey set from 165 cards to 198 cards. This year continued the trend of 198 cards, as that seemed to be a comfortable number of cards for Topps to handle. Hockey cards were not popular in the United States in the 1980s – remember, there were no Topps hockey card sets for 1982-83 or 1983-84. So, it would not make sense to make their hockey sets as large as say, their annual Football set, which was usually around 396 cards. Continue reading “Review: 1987-88 Topps Hockey”

Review: 2006-07 SP Authentic

Run-of-the-mill set with legends thrown in for good measure

2006-07 SP Authentic #89 - Ryan Miller

The 2006-07 SP Authentic set featured the typical short-printed rookie cards and one-per-box autographs. The short-printed cards were limited to just 999 copies each. Since many collectors bought multiple boxes with dreams of getting some expensive insert card, the result is that they end up with multiple base sets (1-100). Go on eBay, and you’ll find people trying to get rid of base sets for $5 or $10.

Since I only have the base set, that is what is reviewed here. Continue reading “Review: 2006-07 SP Authentic”

Change to Upper Deck N.P.N. program

Today, I got a letter in the mail from Upper Deck, which read as follows:

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for your continued interest in Upper Deck’s “No Purchase Necessary” program. Upper Deck is pleased to announce that as of January 1, 2008, Upper Deck will be going to an online method of submitting entries. Upper Deck will no longer be accepting mail-in entries after December 1, 2007. To submit your entries beginning on January 1, 2008, please log on to npn.upperdeck.com.

Sincerely,

The Upper Deck Company

The letter was signed by “T.R.L.”, which I think are the initials of their N.P.N. Manager. Either that, or they want me to watch MTV’s “Total Request Live”.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Upper Deck’s “No Purchase Necessary” Program, it was a chance for you to get an insert card without making a purchase. For a chance to “win” an insert card (such as a jersey card, a rookie card, an autographed card, etc.), you would actually have to write out by hand–no photocopies or other reproductions–your name, address, daytime phone number and evening phone number on an index card, and then send that in a hand-addressed envelope. They would only allow you to enter once per day, meaning that they’d discard one of your entries if they received two from you on the same day (or so they say).

When I first learned of the N.P.N. program in May of 2006, I would send an entry to Upper Deck every other day, in a vain attempt to win something. After 15 entries or so, I decided that it was a waste of stamps, and stopped. A month later, I got a 2005-06 Parkhurst autographed card. In the fall of 2006, I entered a few more times, just for the heck of it, but received nothing. A few weeks ago, I received an insert card from 2007-08 MVP. So, I guess they would keep all entries on file, and just pull from them every day or something.

Either way, it seemed like a waste of stamps and energy–who wants to *write out* their information for a *chance* to win? Ugh!

This new method sounds like it wouldn’t be much harder than sending an email or filling out an online form. I can deal with that. Of course, I don’t mind writing things out by hand–I send fan letters to hockey players, asking them to autograph a few cards, and I *always* handwrite those as they should be personal. Contest entries don’t need to be personal.

Overall, I think this is good news. While Upper Deck still holds an unhealthy and unfair monopoly on the hockey card industry, it is great to see them take great strides forward in customer service–first with their redemption programs, and now with their N.P.N. programs. Now I’ll have a chance to win some insert cards without wasting stamps.

Fight Card

1973-74 Topps card #151 – Phil Roberto

Phil Roberto 1973-74 Topps Hockey CardMost hockey card photography from the late 1960s and early 1970s consisted of either portraits or posed shots. By the mid-70s, Topps and O-Pee-Chee started to use game action photography. And nothing says ACTION like two hockey players fighting. Phil Roberto, of the St. Louis Blues, is shown here fighting¬† New York Islanders’ goaltender Billy Smith while two linesmen attempt to break them up. Continue reading “Fight Card”

Review: 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Super Photos

Four times the size and almost twice the fun of regular hockey cards

1980-81 OPC Super Photos #5 - Lanny McDonaldBigger is better, or so they usually say. The O-Pee-Chee Super Photos set, released in 1981, features cards that are 5″ wide by 7″ tall – four times the size of a standard hockey card. Twenty four portrait-type photographs comprise the set. As cool as these jumbo cards are, the bland, almost blank backs, leave something to be desired. Continue reading “Review: 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Super Photos”