The Do’s and Don’ts of Interacting with Hockey Players

A stick to the face, a car door covered in paint marker and hearing “Hot dogs!” screamed at him was just one day of Phil Kessel’s experience of meeting fans outside of the new Pittsburgh Penguins practice facility. Can you blame the guy for being so secluded? This is just one of the many instances I have unfortunately had to witness when interacting with players. 

Let’s get one thing straight: I am not an autograph hound. I am not a re-seller. I am just a fan of the game. NHL players are extremely talented and hard-working, but in the end they are just like you and me, and want to be treated with respect. 

Think about it. If you walked out of your job every day and 20 people that you’ve never seen in your life ran up to you screaming, waving markers in their hands and asked you to autograph something, it would get old, wouldn’t it? So, with that perspective in mind, here are some do’s and don’ts for interacting with players.  

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1993-94 Stadium Club Proof Card

Being a collector of oddball items, there was no way I could pass up this 1993-94 Topps Stadium Club proof card of Pittsburgh Penguins legend Mario Lemieux. Measuring 2 7/8″ by 3 7/8″, the proof card is 3/8″ bigger in width and height, showing some of the photo that was ultimately cropped out.

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Review: 1993-94 Leaf Mario Lemieux Collection

When the 1993-94 hockey season started, the Leaf Trading Card Company entered into the foray and released several hockey card sets. The company chose a rather significant superstar as their spokesperson – Mario Lemieux. 

As a Pittsburgh Penguins fan in the early 1990s, it was exciting to see Lemieux heavily featured in all of Leaf’s promotional material. Given the health issues he faced the previous season, seeing Lemieux look so vibrant, and featuring him in his own 10-card insert set, seemed like a fitting tribute to my hero. 

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Review: 2017 Upper Deck Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Champions Set

When the Pittsburgh Penguins captured their second title in as many years, it didn’t take long for the Upper Deck Company to continue their tradition of issuing a limited-edition set to celebrate the achievement. Released in August 2017 was this 18-card Penguins Stanley Cup Championship set, featuring the players instrumental to the Pens’ pursuit and capture of Lord Stanley’s mug.

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New Penguins 2017 Championship Items

Rubber, Thread, Ink and Ice

When the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators in six games to claim the 2017 Stanley Cup Championship, they were the first team to win two Cups in a row since the Detroit Red Wings did it in 1997 and 1998. 

Of course, with this championship win comes championship memorabilia and apparel, commemorating the Penguins’ modern-day dynasty. Here are a few keepsakes that you might want to make room for in your collection.

Game-Used Ice from the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals

Ice from the Stanley Cup Finals was melted and encapsulated into crystal pucks and crystal Stanley Cups. These items were also available in 2016, and were popular enough to make a comeback in 2017. 

Although, if the ice is melted, aren’t they actually selling you water? 

Anyway, for $49.99, you can get a crystal puck filled with game-used ice, which comes with a nifty display case. A miniature miniature crystal Stanley Cup filled with ice costs $79.99 and comes with a black crate. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a miniature Philip Pritchard to lug it around for you. 

Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup Champions T-Shirt

There are a whole bunch of t-shirts touting the Penguins back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships, but here are two of the most-creative designs. One uses cartoon illustrations of the Penguins core players, while the other lists out every player on the team’s championship roster, but using the backs of their jerseys…cuz, you know, back-to-back championships. ($27.99 & $31.99, plus free shipping with coupon code 30SHIP.)

2017 Stanley Cup Champions Patch

For $13, you can stitch this patch to your Penguins jersey, your favorite jacket or your backpack. The patch measures 4″ x 4.5″ and is embroidered. 

Jake Guentzel Autographed Items

Rookie Jake Guentzel was the surprise of the 2017 playoffs, leading the league with 13 goals in the postseason. Perhaps an appropriate memento would be an autographed 2017 Stanley Cup Champions puck ($69.99) or a signed photograph of him raising the Cup ($99.99). 

Framed Shadowbox with 10 Autographed Pucks

By far, this has got to be the coolest memorabilia piece for the 2017 Penguins Stanley Cup Champions. This framed shadowbox display has 10 pucks autographed by  Nick Bonino, Ian Cole, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jake Guentzel, Patric Hornqvist, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin, Matt Murray, Bryan Rust and Justin Schultz. It is a bit pricey at $1,500 — but it is limited to just 50 editions. At 52″ x 18″, this bad boy will take up six-and-a-half square feet of wall space. But if you can spend $1,500 on something like this, you probably live in a mansion with lots of wall space….and that mansion is probably in Pittsburgh. 


Shop for Pittsburgh Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.com, and save $10 with coupon code 10OFF2017. 


Shop for Pittsburgh Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup apparel at Fanatics.com and get free shipping on orders over $30 with coupon code 30SHIP.

Review: 2015-16 Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins Team Set

Almost every season since 2000-01, Choice Marketing has issued a team set of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 2015-16 Wilkes-Barre Penguins set is worth a look from hockey card collectors because of the nice design and, more importantly, because many of the players in this set went on to play in the NHL. 

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Puck Junk Podcast #24 – May 12, 2017

…with Sal Barry & Tim Parish

It’s been two weeks, so get ready for a super-sized podcast. In this episode, Sal and Tim talk about the second round of the 2017 NHL playoffs, including the Penguins-Capitals series, Upper Deck’s new Bounty program with SP Authentic, and Goon: Last of the Enforcers finally getting a U.S. release date. Other topics discussed include Grandeur Hockey Coins, and Sal’s long-unfulfilled wish for a Youngblood sequel.

Podcast #24 is 1 hour and 23 minutes of hockey goodness. 

Follow Sal on Twitter @PuckJunk.
Follow Tim on Twitter @TheRealDFG

Puck Junk Podcast #23 – April 25, 2017

…with Sal Barry & Tim Parish


Player not working? Listen to this podcast on SoundCloud.

Sal & Tim talk about the craziness that was the first round of the 2017 NHL Playoffs, playing daily fantasy playoff hockey on the Topps Skate mobile app, building sets on the cheap with Upper Deck E-Pack, Dennis Wideman gettin’ sued and more. 

Podcast #23 is an hour long, so grab a tall one, kick back and hit play.

Follow Sal on Twitter @PuckJunk.
Follow Tim on Twitter @TheRealDFG

Custom Hockey Card: Irwin the Penguin

While sorting through a box of old hockey memorabilia, I came across this “custom card” that I made many years ago of Irwin the Penguin.

Of course, you have no idea who Irwin the Penguin is, so allow me to explain. Back when we were kids, Irwin was my sister’s favorite stuffed animal. One day during the summer of 1989, I decided to make a drawing of her toy penguin as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, since that seemed like an obvious team to put him on.

But it wasn’t *just* a drawing — it was a hockey card, complete with statistics on the back.   Continue reading “Custom Hockey Card: Irwin the Penguin”

Pittsburgh Penguins “Man In Black” Promo Cards

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Back in the 1990s, many unlicensed hockey cards were made by those looking to quickly — and illegitimately — cash in on the booming sports trading card industry. Some of the more notable fake cards that circulated include a card of Wayne Gretzky as a member of the WHA’s Indianapolis Racers, and another that featured Eric Lindros, Sergei Fedorov and Ed Belfour.

Allegedly, a men’s clothing store called “Man In Black” put out a cheap-looking, six-card set that featured popular Pittsburgh Penguins players. While the Penguins in the 1990s were great, these cards of them are awful.

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