My week-late recap of National Hockey Card Day

Last week was perhaps my busiest week in the past 4 years. In addition to teaching 5 college classes and a class at a grammar school, I curated an art show that opened on Wednesday, finished a grueling application for a full-time teaching job, and finished another grueling application for a teaching award that I was nominated for.

So, yes, I did get my free hockey cards on National Hockey Card Day. But I didn’t get the chance to blog about it…until now.  Here is my long-overdue recap of National Hockey Card Day.

The Plan
Shellie and I went to 5 different card shops. She drove (her car is stick shift, which I can’t drive…but I haven’t driven in about a billion years, anyway) so that we could hit some shops in the suburbs too. And, by having someone with me, it would double the amount of free NHCD packs I’d get.

Stop #1
Elite Sports Cards
2028 W. Montrose Ave. 
(773) 784-1396

The guy at Elite Sports card is nice. I had to buy a pack of cards made by Upper Deck to get the “free” pack of NHCD cards. Shellie and I each bought a pack, and he also gave us each a Tim Thomas card. He also gave me the Panini “Player of the Day” sign on his counter top, as that promo was over and he was going to throw it out anyway.

My only complaint about Elite Sports cards is that they don’t really have much of anything when it comes to hockey cards. He carries the new packs…and that’s about it.

Stop #2
Sports Harvest
6031 W. Irving Park Rd. in Chicago
(773) 283-4350
No website

I have never been to this store before. It is in the Portage Park neighborhood in Chicago. My old stomping grounds–a few doors down from my old karate school, and across the street from a theater I used to frequent.

Chuck is the owner, and he gave Shellie and I each a pack of NHCD cards, and each of us a Tim Thomas card. His store has cards, but Sports Harvest really specializes in toys and McFarlane SportsPicks figures.
So, I bought a few random single hockey cards that I needed and a Marty Turco Blackhawks figure.

Stop #3
Chicago All-Stars
5754 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago
(773) 631-5566

This place was CLOSED when I got there. They are supposed to be open until 3pm on a Saturday. We got there at 1:55pm, and it was locked up and the lights were off. No note or explanation as to why they were closed over an hour early. I even called and left my number, and they never called me back.

Stop #4   
Sports & Gaming Cards
205 Golf Mill Center in Niles
(847) 795-9355
No website

The owner was very friendly and loved hockey. I forgot his name, but his second cousin is former NHLer Bates Battaglia.

The shop had a moderate amount of hockey cards, and I picked up a few random Young Guns, including one of Magnus Paajarvi.

Shellie and I were each given a pack of NHCD cards, but the owner would only give me the Tim Thomas card, even though he had a bunch of them. Shellie did buy some WarCraft cards, and I spent $50, so I think he probably could have given us a second TT card. Oh well. 

Stop #5
AU Sports Memorabilia
5629 W. Touhy Ave. in Niles
(847) 647-8311
Facebook Page

AU Sports has quickly become tied for my favorite card shop. Store co-owners Scott and Frank are two of the nicest, most well-adjusted card guys you will ever do business with. Plus, Frank is way into hockey, so he and I geek out and talk about old O-Pee-Chee cards and stuff like that.

When Shellie and I walked through the door, Scott immediately gave us each 2 packs of NHCD cards. He also offered to give us each a Tim Thomas card, but he only had 4 left, so we only took one so other customers could get a chance to get one. I bought some pages, a few large toploaders, some random cards from the 1990s and early 2000s to fill some sets and a 1961-62 Topps Wayne Hillman.

I opened the 4 packs that AU Sports gave us, and still did not have one complete set. So Frank kept opening packs and gave me cards that I needed. After about 10 packs, he gave up trying to get me a Pekka Rinne, but that still helped me almost complete 3 sets.

And the verdict
National Hockey Card Day was fun. I ended up with some free cards, and the NHCD promotion prompted me to visit some shops that I never would normally have gone to. Other than the less-than-spectacular collation of the cards, I think National Hockey Card Day was a success. I look forward to it again next year.


Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

2 thoughts on “My week-late recap of National Hockey Card Day”

  1. Hey Sal,

    I've got the following Victory inserts and was wondering if you'd be interested in trading for one of your Tim Thomas US NHCD cards.

    11/12 Victory
    Starts of the Game
    Matt Duchesne
    Zach Parise
    Patrick Kane

    Game Breakers
    John Tavares
    Martin St. Louis

    Just let me know.


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