Collecting Rare Hockey Autographs

If you have read any of my previous stories on Puck Junk, you may already know that I am not one to collect, or suggest that you collect, the same way that most people do. Whether you prefer completing sets, buying inexpensive RC’s, high end RC’s, specific teams, specific players, or memorabilia cards, you should consider collecting certified autographed cards. Over the years since certified autographs were first produced, they have changed quite a bit and now include many unique multiple autographed versions and even dual autographed rookie cards.

Continue reading “Collecting Rare Hockey Autographs”

Six New Members Inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame

A Look at Each Inductee and Their Rookie Cards

The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted perhaps its most diverse group of honorees on November 12. Consider Martin St. Louis, who at 5 feet 8 inches was passed over in the NHL Draft because he was thought to be too small, and yet ended up being a leading scorer even at the twilight of his career. Then there is hulking, 6-foot-3-inch Aleksander Yakushev, who never played in the NHL but dominated during international play for the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Jayna Hefford was a mainstay for Canada’s international women’s team for 17 seasons, winning 12 gold medals, as well as becoming the all-time leading scorer in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Headlining the players’ category was Martin Brodeur, who is the all-time leader for NHL goalies in wins, shutouts and games played.

Inducted in the builders’ category was Willie O’Ree, who broke hockey’s color barrier 60 years ago as a player with the Boston Bruins, and then helped others follow in his footsteps for the past 20 years. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was also inducted as a builder for the growth the league has enjoyed over the past quarter century.

“He Will Take a Hit to Make a Play”

The first to the podium that night was NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. He is the longest-serving active commissioner of any pro sports league, and the only active pro sports commissioner to be inducted into a Hall of Fame.

“To imagine myself as a permanent part of this magical place is overwhelming,” Bettman said, “and I am thrilled to be enshrined in this Hall with this group of exceptional honorees.”

Bettman was the only 2018 inductee who never played hockey, but still took a humorous look at what kind of player he would have been: “The hockey scouting report on me would be something like this: lousy skater, not much of a shooter, you’re not going to outwork him, he’ll be strong in the corners and in front of the net, and he will take a hit to make a play.”

When Bettman took over as NHL Commissioner in February 1993, the league was a mess. Read the full article at Sports Collectors Digest

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

Book Review: Bernie Federko: My Blues Note

Nearly 29 years after he skated his last shift, former St. Louis Blues center, honored Hockey Hall of Fame member and current Blues color commentator Bernie Federko finally penned an autobiography. Entitled “Bernie Federko: My Blues Note,” and co-authored with Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic, the former superstar recounts his 14-year NHL career and what came afterward. Federko — perhaps because of his subsequent career as a broadcaster — has no shortage of interesting things to say, good or bad, about those he played for, with or against. 

Continue reading “Book Review: Bernie Federko: My Blues Note”

Card of the Week: Dominik Hasek is Gonna Steal Your Hubcaps!

2016 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Goudey #24: Dominik Hasek

Seriously, what is with this card? Why was it even made? Companies like Upper Deck issue these multi-sport sets such as Goodwin Champions, where players are purposely shown outside of a game setting and in plain clothes — so that the companies do not have to pay royalties to the sports leagues. 

But why did Upper Deck choose to show Dominik Hasek dressed like this? Continue reading “Card of the Week: Dominik Hasek is Gonna Steal Your Hubcaps!”

Puck Junk’s Top Articles of 2017

Happy 2018, party people! As is my annual ritual, here is a look back at the most popular Puck Junk articles from the previous year. 

Well, almost. I gotta make a small confession here. The most popular article on this site during the 2017 calendar year was actually “Every 1990-91 Hockey Card Set Ranked,” which was published in 2016. It just goes to show how significant the 1990-91 season was for hockey collectibles if people are still reading about those cards more than 25 years after they were made. 

Anyway, here are the top 10 most-read articles on Puck Junk that were actually published during 2017.  Continue reading “Puck Junk’s Top Articles of 2017”

Career in Cards: Johnny Bower

Hockey lost another legend on Tuesday when Johnny Bower passed away at age 93. Bower was one of the greatest goalies during the NHL’s Original Six Era. He was also one of the greatest minor league netminders, too. Bower spent 12 years in the NHL and another 12 in the AHL, and didn’t retire until he was 45. Thus, he had accomplished careers in the best and second-best hockey leagues. 

Here we take a look back at the career of the “China Wall,” illustrated with his hockey cards. from the 1950s and 1960s.  Continue reading “Career in Cards: Johnny Bower”

Hockey Hall of Fame Inducts 2017 Class

(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.

Excerpt from Sports Collectors Digest, Vol. 46, No. 26, December 22, 2017. Article also published online here.

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. 

Read the full article at Sports Collectors Digest

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

Goodbye and Thank You, Pierre Pilote

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.

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”

Review: Legends Trumps Game

The Pocket-Sized Hockey Hall of Fame

If you enjoy card games like “Trumps” — where the highest card wins — or “Go Fish,” but wish they somehow involved hockey, then you should check out Legends International Ice Hockey Trumps Game. It is a new card game from Switzerland that features 40 eye-catching illustrations of the best hockey players from around the world.  

Sold as a full deck online, Legends Trumps Game shows your favorite Hall of Fame players like you’ve never seen them before. 

Continue reading “Review: Legends Trumps Game”

Puck Junk Podcast #19 – Nov. 16, 2016

…with Sal Barry & Tim Parish


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In the newest Puck Junk Podcast, Sal and Tim (@TheRealDFG) discuss the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees: Sergei Makarov, Rogie Vachon, Pat Quinn and Eric Lindros. Did you know that each of these inductees all were at the center of controversy, at one time or another, during their careers? We talk about that too.

Also in this episode:

Upper Deck’s exclusive autograph deal with Auston Matthews.

Playing fantasy hockey on the Topps NHL Skate mobile app.

Martin Brodeur playing in the upcoming Blues alumni game.

Tim’s kids opening packs of 1991-92 Stadium Club Hockey.

And more!

Podcast #19 is SUPERSIZED at 1 hour and 1 minute — and it’s totally free! What a bargain! Theme music by Jim “Not the Goalie” Howard.

Oh, and here are the two articles mentioned in the podcast:

• Career in Cards: Eric Lindros
• King for a Day: Dale McCourt

So, what are your thoughts on the 2016 Hall of Fame inductees, on Topps Skate, the Auston Matthews-Upper Deck agreement, or anything else? Leave a comment below. ■