Ten years! Can you believe that Puck Junk is a decade old? Sometimes, I can’t believe that I’ve stuck with this whole writing thing for so long, partially because I have a penchant from changing hobbies every few years. Sure, I am passionate about hockey — and I always will be — but to write about it consistently for a decade is an accomplishment I am proud of. And I have all of you to thank for that.
Free stuff. We all love getting it when we go to a hockey game. I might not collect bobbleheads, but darn it, I’ll be sure to be one of the first 10,000 people to hustle through the gates to get a Jonathan Toews bobblehead that slightly looks like him. And if the giveaway is hockey cards, then I’ve been known to get to a hockey game two hours before puck drop.
Below are the notable game-night giveaways for each and every NHL team, including hockey cards, bobbleheads and other fun items that will end up on Ebay the day after they are given out. Some apparel items, like hats and t-shirts, are also listed below if they seem unique enough.
I never saw Mr. Pilote play; he retired long before I was born, so I can’t attest to what kind of player he was without paraphrasing what others have already said, especially during the past few days. However, I have met Pilote many times during the past decade, and can speak to as what kind of person he was towards Blackhawks fans.
Pilote was at the annual Chicago Blackhawks Convention practically every year since it started in 2008. I also met him at the National Sports Collectors Convention when it was in Chicago in 2011 and 2015, and at numerous Sun-Times Sports Card Shows, where he usually signed autographs for charity as a part of The Fergie Jenkins Foundation.
As you would probably expect of someone who was the Black Hawks team captain for seven years, Pilote was nothing short of awesome when interacting with the fans. Continue reading “Goodbye and Thank You, Pierre Pilote”
Upper Deck released its inaugural edition of Grandeur Hockey Coins earlier this year. A box with one coin costs $100, while a four-coin box costs $499 and is guaranteed to contain one of the rarer coins. I finally got my hands on a one-coin box, so let’s check this puppy out.
Let the new season of collecting begin!
The 2017-18 hockey season is still a month away, yet Upper Deck likes to get the “collecting season” started early. Coming out almost two months before the start of the season is Upper Deck MVP Hockey. Although the price is the same as last year’s MVP — about $3 USD per pack or $40 USD for a 20-pack box — the set is smaller, with over 100 less short-printed cards, making this year’s offering easier to complete.
I opened up a box of 2017-18 Upper Deck MVP Hockey recently. Here is what I found:
In August of 1997, my girlfriend (at the time) and I went on a spur-of-the-moment road trip to the Wisconsin Dells. For those who have never been there, “The Dells” is a touristy area about an hour or so north of Chicago that has tons of fun attractions like water parks, mini golf courses, go kart racing, boat tours, and indoor attractions too, such as the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! museum. Basically, good, cheap fun that 20-somethings could afford. One time, I even found some long-needed hockey goodness for my collection. Continue reading “Buying Cards in the 1990s, Memory #3: The Wisconsin Dells Antique Mall”
For the first four years of his professional career, it looked like Carter Hutton was doomed to the minors. During a three-year span, Hutton was called-up from the minors and appeared as a backup for a handful of games; first for the Philadelphia Flyers in 2009-10, then the San Jose Sharks in 2010-11 and then the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011-12. But Hutton never actually played in any of those games.
The same seemed destined to happen in 2012-13, when the Blackhawks called up Hutton a few times during the lockout-shortened season to ride the pine. Finally, in their last regular season game of 2012-13, the Blackhawks started Hutton in his first NHL game — a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues. After that, he grew into a dependable backup netminder; first for the Nashville Predators, and then last season for the Blues.
During two of his years in the minors, Hutton had two trading cards that used the exact same photo — which was weird because they were cards for different teams.
While a lot of hockey cards were made during the 1990-91 season, the 1991-92 season was like a movie sequel: bigger and bolder, with more of everything.
More cards? Check.
Larger sets? That too.
Extra inserts? You bet!
The amount of sets made, and cards to collect, nearly doubled, with companies releasing two or three sets each in an attempt to cash in on the boom. Hockey card revenue from the 1991-92 season, generated from the brisk sales, spiked to $15 million and was even a major cause of the 1992 NHL Players’ Strike.
That’s funny if you think about it, because hockey cards in the 1991-92 season were worth $15 million to the players and owners – money worth fighting over — and yet hockey cards from that year are practically worthless today.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t open up your collection a little bit to some of these “neo-vintage” (don’t call ’em “junk wax”) sets. Maybe you have room in your collection for one, or a few, of these — assuming you don’t have them already. So here is my ranking of every 1991-92 hockey card set.
August 9, 1988 was arguably the single most important day in hockey history. On that day, the biggest trade in professional sports took place when the Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings. Here, the best player in his sport was traded at the height of his career. Gretzky’s trade changed hockey forever. “Kings Ransom,” an ESPN documentary directed by Peter Berg, recounts that fateful day and the events that led up to it.
Unfortunately, “Kings Ransom,” released in 2009, is not the documentary that I hoped for. It tries so hard to be dramatic and doesn’t say anything that hasn’t already been said.
“Jim, I need you to write a Puck Junk post about a card I found,” Sal said to me recently. “And you’re the only one who can do it.”
“Uh, OK,” I replied.
So he sends me the Gordie Howe card you see above, and my first reaction was not good. (WARNING: It really was not good at all.)
When I was able to put my nose back on with bond and duct tape, I had so many questions about why this card exists in the first place. Continue reading “Card of the Week: Howe Awful!”