I am not really a collector of pucks, even though you think I was, considering that this blog is called Puck Junk. Pucks are an iconic and necessary part of hockey. But pucks are also hard to collect. They are heavy and take up a lot of space. Numerous pucks are made each season — not just counting one for each team, but all the commemorative, outdoor games, all-star game and other “one-offs.” And really old, or really unique pucks can go for hundreds of dollars. So I usually steer clear of pucks and stick to cards, which I enjoy so much more anyway. However, I recently gave in and added a few pucks to my hockey collection.
I was at my local card shop and saw a box marked “Pucks $3 Each.” Wow! Even when I was a youngling in the 1990s, pucks were a $5 item. Seeing a box of pucks for $3 each piqued my interest.
Upon digging through the box, I found seven gems that I could not pass up. Some of these pucks are of teams from defunct leagues, while others are the kind of pucks that you just don’t find that often.
Chicago Wolves (AHL / IHL) Steve Maltais Jersey Retirement Puck – Steve Maltais played 120 games in the NHL with five different teams, but was a legend with the minor-league Chicago Wolves. Between 1994 and 2005, Maltais was captain for most of those seasons and retired as the team’s all-time leading scorer. His number 11 was retired by the Wolves on April 15, 2006. The backside shows a sponsor logo of Wayne Messmer & Associates. Messmer is a part-owner of the team and the soloist who sings the national anthem before every game. (Messmer’s own legacy came as the National Anthem singer at Chicago Blackhawks games during the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, including the 1991 NHL All-Star Game) If I could only buy one puck that day, this would have been it. Of course, I couldn’t stop at just one — especially when silly cartoon animals are involved.
Baltimore Bandits (AHL) – I’m a sucker for angry cartoon animals with hockey sticks. Plus, the Bandits only lasted from 1995-96 to 1996-97, so I assume this puck may be harder to find than, say, a Chicago Blackhawks puck. Speaking of which, the Baltimore franchise, through a series of relocations, eventually became the Rockford IceHogs, who are the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate.
Cincinnati Cyclones (IHL) – Although they are perhaps known for being an ECHL franchise, the Cincinnati Cyclones spent nine years in the old International Hockey League. I love old IHL memorabilia, but probably would have bought it anyway because of their awesome, anthropomorphized logo of a cyclone with a stick.
Grand Rapids Griffins (IHL) – While the Griffins logo is nowhere near as awesome as the Bandits or the Cyclones, I purchased this puck because it is from their time in the old IHL. When the IHL folded, the Griffins — along with the Chicago Wolves and four other teams — joined the AHL.
Phoenix Coyotes – There was no way I was going to pass up this Phoenix Coyotes “Picasso Logo” puck. The ‘Yotes used this strange insignia from their inception in 1996-97 until 2002-03. This puck is in very nice condition, too.
1998 USA Hockey Nagano Winter Olympics – I almost passed up on buying this puck, as the Team USA Men’s Hockey Team did awful in the 1998 Winter Olympics. But my girlfriend reminded me that the U.S. Women’s team won the gold medal. I felt guilty for not remembering that; I so strongly associate the 1998 Winter Olympics with the Men’s failure that I forget that Cammi Granato and Company won gold that year. One interesting detail about this puck is that it has a copyright date of 1993, meaning that it was manufactured a full five years before the 1998 Olympic Games.
Question: For those of you who collect pucks, how do you store then? Do you neatly stack them in boxes? Put them in puck holders? Or store them some other way? I now have around 30 pucks in my collection, and am looking for suggestions on how to keep them in good condition.