(Note: I am now a contributing writer for Sports Collectors Digest. Here is an excerpt of my first article for SCD.)
The Class of 2017 received hockey’s ultimate honor November 13, when seven new members were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Inductees included: Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi and Danielle Goyette. Those five were 2017’s additions to the Hockey Hall of Fame’s player category. Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and longtime collegiate coach Clare Drake were this year’s addition to the builders’ category.
Selanne, who retired at the close of the 2013-14 season, was inducted in the first year of eligibility, while Kariya, Recchi, Goyette and Andreychuk had to wait some time before getting their due. All of these players had long and successful careers, either on the professional or international stage – and sometimes both. Here is a look at each player’s accolades that make them “Hall-worthy,” as well as some of their earliest hockey cards.
Slow as molasses
“Nobody thinks I want to be a Hall of Famer,” said Dave Andreychuk at the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony. “You think about just trying to play in the NHL, you think about just trying to make your team better. Lots of it is about who’s with you.”
Andreychuk’s coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning, John Tortorella, once said that Andreychuk was “slow as molasses, but for some reason he gets it done.”
Tortorella may have been describing Andreychuk’s play – especially in his Tampa Bay years, when he was at the close of his career – but it could describe his wait for the Hall of Fame; it took a while, but now he’s in.
You can smell the turkey cooking, you’re already gearing up for the assault of family members you haven’t seen in a year and still don’t want to, the air is getting crisp even in Carolina, and there’s a collective groan out of the Windy City as the Blackhawks are announced as participants in yet another outdoor game. Must be time to make fun of Upper Deck’s latest flagship set of hockey cards!
UD made it tough for me this year; almost every pack I opened had one card I could laugh at. I doubt they read these posts for the sake of tossing me a softball, but I piled up 36 cards out of one hobby box to poke fun at and I’ve pared it down to a baker’s dozen.
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.
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.
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.
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: