Happy New Year! Before we get into new content for 2019, I wanted to do a recap of Puck Junk’s most-read articles of 2018, and a brief update on what’s been going on with this website.
First, I am happy to report that readership at Puck Junk was at an all-time high in 2018. Traffic for this site grew about 37% between 2017 and 2018. And let me assure you, it is much more gratifying to write when more people read what I put up here.
The increase in readership was in big part because several new writers have joined the Puck Junk team, giving their unique perspectives on hockey and hockey collectibles. Their fine work has made it possible to update Puck Junk more frequently since the start of the 2018-19 season; perhaps you have noticed that this site has been updated almost every day since October?
Also, a lot of you wanted to know what happened to the Puck Junk Podcast and if it is going to return. It has been over a year since co-host Tim Parish and I recorded our last podcast. There are several reasons why the show has gone on hiatus, but basically it boils down to lack of time, technical problems and a decision for me to focus more on writing. Look, I love producing audio and video content, but those take substantially more time, and get substantially less traffic than a well-written article. But to answer the question, I think the Puck Junk Podcast will make its return sometimes this month, once I complete a large side project.
Anyway, below are the top articles that were published on Puck Junk during the 2018 calendar year. If you missed any of these, be sure to give it a read.
1. Rookie Cards of Every NHL Head Coach for the 2018-19 Season
Every NHL head coach had a different route to where they are today. Some played in the NHL, others toiled in the minors, and others never played pro and worked their way up the coaching ranks. This article looks at the first hockey card for each of the 31 NHL bench bosses. This was, by far, the most popular article during the 2018 calendar year, which is surprising, since it was published less than three months ago.
2. Interview: Randy Walker, Rob Lowe’s Hockey Double in Youngblood
Randy Walker had the best summer job that any 16-year old could hope for, as a hockey/stunt double for Rob Lowe in the movie Youngblood.
3. The Near-Miracle on Ice: An Oral History of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team
The 1992 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team went undefeated before falling to the eventual tournament champions. Keith Tkachuk, Brett Hedican, Shawn McEachern, Ray LeBlanc and several others share their memories of the team’s almost-miraculous run.
4. 50 in ’07: Dany Heatley’s Online Legacy
Dany Heatley has been out of the NHL for nearly five years, but his online legacy thrives thanks to a famous parody Twitter account.
5. The Best 2018-19 NHL Game-Night Giveaway Items
From a Joe Thornton bobblehead missing a chunk of beard, to a Pittsburgh Penguin pop art puzzle, here is a rundown of the best free promotional items at NHL games this season.
6. 10 Things You Should Know About Blades of Steel
Many hockey fans, especially those over 30, no doubt remember this classic video game. But how many of these obscure facts about Blades of Steel do you know? It is surprising that this article made the list, considering that it isn’t even a week old. Apparently, Blades of Steel is fondly remembered by many, as this article caught on like wildfire soon after it was published.
7. Why Buyback Autographs are the Best Rookie Cards to Collect
What’s better than an Alexander Ovechkin rookie card? How about an Alexander Ovechkin rookie card signed by Alexander Ovechkin, numbered and certified by the card company? This article talks about some of the most-popular buyback autographed rookie cards and includes a checklist.
8. Ten Offbeat Eric Lindros Hockey Cards
In honor of The Big E’s jersey retirement, here is a rundown of ten different odd/strange/fun Eric Lindros hockey cards. Collect them all!
9. Every 1992-93 Hockey Card Set Ranked
A ranking of all 13 major hockey card sets that came out 25 years ago, during the 1992-93 season. Which one did you like best?
10. The Puck Junk Bad Hockey Card Hall of Fame: Class of 2018
Bad hockey cards deserve to be recognized for their awfulness, so here are ten cards that are so bad that they were immortalized in the Puck Junk Bad Hockey Card Hall of Fame.
Thank you to everyone who reads this website, and have a happy and prosperous 2019. ■
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.