Earlier this week was the 15th Anniversary of when I launched Puck Junk. After several months of designing and developing, PuckJunk.com made its debut on October 5, 2007. My first article published on this site was about the 2007-08 Victory Hockey card set, followed by articles about the fake Wayne Gretzky Indianapolis Racers card, and the 1988-89 Frito Lay Hockey set.
I originally wanted to start a hockey website in 2006, when I got back into hockey card collecting as a hobby. But my job at the time kept me busy and with little energy for any extracurricular activities. When I quit my job in late summer of 2007, I finally had the time to make Puck Junk happen.
Another incentive for me to start this website was that I — incorrectly — thought that no one would ever give me a chance to write about hockey or hockey collectibles. Starting this website gave me an outlet to do that, but it led to so much more.
Over time, my writing improved. I became a freelance writer for The Hockey News, Beckett Hockey Magazine, and several other publications — some that are no longer around. I was a regular guest on XM Radio and later on Sports Byline USA to talk about sports collectibles. And in 2015, I got my Master’s Degree in journalism. That was also the year I started the Puck Junk Podcast with Tim Parish.
A lot of my thoughts about running Puck Junk for so long are unchanged from when I reflected on this site’s 10th Anniversary back in 2017, so I don’t want to rehash any of that here.
Instead, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the old screen shots and site banners from over the years. Admittedly, I did not take many screen shots of this website; I mean, why would I?
But I do have all of this website’s banners, which shows how Puck Junk’s look and feel has changed over the years, and how it has evolved from *just* a hockey card blog to a website about hockey cards, collectibles, and culture.
Please take a visual stroll with me down memory lane.
Prior to Launch: April 23, 2007
After I registered www.puckjunk.com, I put up a “Coming Soon” page, topped with this banner. I thought I was clever using the puck as a period between PUCKJUNK and COM.
Site Launch: October 5, 2007
I launched Puck Junk on October 5, 2007 with a pretty straightforward, no-frills banner. I wanted something simple and clean. This was Puck Junk’s main banner image from October 5, 2007 to April 27, 2012. However, I did change the banner a few times for special occasions.
Christmas Banner: December 2007
During the month of December in Puck Junk’s inaugural season, I strung some Christmas lights across the banner. Can you find the one burnt-out bulb? I also changed the ice background that bordered the site from blue to green.
Gretzky Trade Banner: August 2008
To commemorate the 20th Anniversary of Wayne Gretzky’s trade from Edmonton to Los Angeles — a.k.a. “The Trade” — I made a special banner. I don’t think many people noticed, though.
Blinking Christmas Banner:
December 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011
For the month of December in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, I brought back the Christmas lights again — but this time, I added a blinking animation.
NHL ’94 Banner: January 2009
I created a special “NHL ’94” banner for January 2009 to coincide with an article that I wrote about the game NHL ’94 for Beckett Sports Card Monthly.
Now with Tagline: April 28, 2012
In April 2012, I moved Puck Junk from Blogger to WordPress, and thus, needed a bigger banner for the new site layout. I knew that I should include the site’s tagline, which at the time was “The Site for Hockey Card Collectors.” But this wouldn’t be the graphic for too long.
Let There Be Cards! May 6, 2012
Well, if Puck Junk was “The Site for Hockey Card Collectors,” then the banner image at the top — the website’s main branding — should have hockey cards on it. So, I used some of my favorite cards, including a 1963-64 Parkhurst Gordie Howe card, a 1971-72 Topps Ken Dryden Rookie card, and a 1990-91 Pro Set Wayne Gretzky card.
Ken Out, Tony In: May 9, 2012
Just three days later, I made a few changes, swapping out the Ken Dryden rookie card — I thought the yellow background on his card was too distracting — with a Tony Esposito rookie card. I also changed the typography quite a bit. That’s one great thing about designing websites: if you don’t like something, you can change it again and again until you get it right.
New Tag Line: September 25, 2012
This is when I debuted the new tagline of “Hockey Cards, Collectibles, and Culture,” which better reflected the direction Puck Junk had taken. No longer was this site *just* a hockey card blog; it had grown and encompassed so much more. This banner would stick around for over two years, only being replaced at Christmastime with a special holiday banner.
Christmas Lights Banner:
December 2012, 2013 & 2014
For December in 2012, 2013, and 2014, I made a special Christmas banner with blinking lights. Notice how the lights make the cards brighter when they blink on.
Blackout Banner: January 3, 2015
I had to get rid of the cards! I had gotten tired of the look, but I wasn’t sure what to put up there. So, I made a simple achromatic banner with text and nothing else, until I figured out what I wanted. I vaguely remember a few friends telling me how boring this was, and that no one would know what the site was about. But I needed to buy myself some time to think of a new design.
Bubbly Banner: January 26, 2015
For 2015, I appropriated some imagery from Topps wrappers, as well as a bubble font reminiscent of 1971-72 Topps and O-Pee-Chee cards. I was good with this look for now, but knew that I really needed to start developing my own branding and imagery.
Design Overhaul: January 1, 2016
I overhauled Puck Junk’s design in 2016, making the site responsive and friendly for mobile devices. I kept the wrapper design look, but used my own original art instead. I also debuted Puck Junk’s first official logo — the “red flag” logo that would be used on business cards, print ads, flyers, and posters.
Now with Helmet: February 27, 2016
The hockey player got a helmet and visor two months later — safety first, folks! I thought the helmetless guy looked a little too 1970s, and I was going for more of a 1980s aesthetic.
10th Anniversary: October 5, 2017
For the 10th anniversary of Puck Junk, I made a special 10th anniversary logo. I also brought back the helmetless player to skate alongside his helmeted teammate.
Back to One Skater: October 5, 2018
When the 10th Anniversary season was over, I reverted back to the “skater with helmet” banner. I was happy with this design, and used it for almost another four years.
New Logo! Who Dis? July 13, 2022
I had to make a new Puck Junk logo because the “red flag” logo was too hard to use. Oblong logos suck! Round or squarish logos are the way to go. The new puck-shaped Puck Junk logo debuted on my website a few weeks before it also appeared on my new business cards and on stickers.
15th Anniversary Logo: October 5, 2022
For the site’s 15th anniversary, I made a simple logo mentioning the anniversary and years. This version of the banner will be in use until the site’s 16th birthday. Then maybe I will have to make a “Sweet 16” logo to put in the banner. But probably not 🙂
As always, thank you for your past and future support of this website. I am still flattered that hockey fans like you want to read what I write in my articles, hear what I have to say in my podcast., or wear one of the t-shirts that I designed. Without your encouragement, Puck Junk would not have made it to 15. I have all of you to thank for that.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■