The trend of birth year jersey numbers in the NHL will go away this season. What I am referring to is when a player elects to wear a number on his jersey that the same number as the year of his birth. Sidney Crosby popularized this trend when he decided to wear 87 because he was born in 1987.
This continued for more than a decade, but it will finally come to an end.
What was maybe a novel concept of an NHL player wearing the year of his birth on his back has long wore out its welcome, becoming as lame as adding “er” or “ie” to make a nickname, i.e. “Kaner” or “Sharpie.”
Twenty-five years ago, in October 1992, The Mighty Ducks flew into movie theaters and changed hockey forever. The film hatched two sequels and had an NHL team named after it, all in a five-year span. Terms from The Mighty Ducks like the “Flying V” and the “Triple Deke” became part of hockey’s cultural lexicon. A few years before all of that happened, though, it was just an idea, flapping around the mind of an unemployed screenwriter.
It is the late 1980s. Steven Brill started working on his script for a hockey movie. He combined his memories of playing hockey as a child, his renewed interest in the game after Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings, and his love for the film The Bad News Bears.
Steven Brill, writer (and movie cameo as ‘Frank Huddy’): I played peewee hockey as a little kid, on one of the worst teams ever, and it was just a horrible experience to be horrible at a game that I didn’t know how to play. We had a mean coach, but I loved being part of a team. It was something that always stuck with me. My passion for hockey and memories of my youth made me always want to revisit the sport.
We all knows what happens to a first-round draft pick who goes on to an exceptional career in the NHL. They rack up accolades and are talked about even long after their playing days have ended. But what about the players who don’t make it? What are their careers or lives like after the shot at NHL stardom is long past? “Tales of a First-Round Nothing: My Life as an NHL Footnote,” written by Terry Ryan in 2014, is a hilarious autobiography of a highly-touted prospect who didn’t pan out. But just because Ryan only played in eight NHL games is no reason to ignore his 228-page memoir. In fact, that’s all the more reason to read it.
Upper Deck’s new print-on-demand hockey card set has potential & problems
Upper Deck debuted its new Game Dated Moments hockey card set for the 2017-18 season last Friday. Each week, Upper Deck will release between one and four cards in this set, based on what they deem to be the biggest news of the NHL from the prior week. Fans will be encouraged to give Upper Deck their input as to what moments they would like to see on Game Dated Moment cards, which are available to purchase on Upper Deck’s E-Pack platform.
Upon first hearing about this new set, I was excited. I remember the 1996-97 Upper Deck Hockey set because the photos on those cards had captions that told you what was happening, and on what date the picture was taken.
I also liked it when Upper Deck made Biography of a Season cards, though admittedly I have always had trouble finding those at my local card shops — only to have dealers try and sell me the same cards months later.
These also remind me of those “Season Highlights” cards that were commonplace in the old Topps and O-Pee-Chee sets in the 1970s and 1980s. Most oldschool hockey collectors love those cards.
Anytime hockey gets a new type of set, even if the idea itself isn’t particularly new, I get excited. Hockey cards are almost always overlooked, so I love it when they get the all-star treatment.
But my excitement for Game Dated Moments has cooled off a little bit for a few good reasons. My outlook on this set is now mixed, with some positives and some problems. Let’s examine the problems first.
Recently, I decided to purge the box full of old computer disks in my closet. Methodically, I went through each and every disk, copied the data over to my hard drive, and then discarded the disks.
This was no small task. I had about 50 old 3 1/2″ floppy disks, that held 1.44 megabytes of data each, and about another 50 Zip disks, which held a whopping-for-the-time 100 megabytes of data. Some of these disks had files dating back to 1994! And copying the data took a long time, because I used external floppy and Zip drives that connected via a USB port.
Unfortunately, not all of the disks worked — so some files were lost forever — but most of the disks were fine. Among the old school projects and ancient term papers were some pieces of hockey digital art that I would like to share.
These images not only depict hockey, but they illustrate my path from computer novice to a digital designer. Let’s see what digital hockey goodness lurked on these obsolete computer disks.
Each NHL coach followed his own unique path to get to where he is today. Some were accomplished NHL players who were immediately given a shot as an assistant coach upon retirement. Others were career minor leaguers, toiling in some of hockey’s most obscure ranks, before working their way up those ranks later on in life to finally appear in the NHL from behind the bench. Still, some never even played minor pro, hanging ’em up after junior and starting their coaching careers young.
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.
Like so many other hockey fans, I was surprised and saddened when I learned that former NHL defenseman Pierre Pilote passed away Saturday night at the age of 85.
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.
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.