Hello Puck Junk readers, and Happy New Year! Before getting into new content for 2023, I wanted to give my annual list of the previous year’s top stories, as well as a recap of what’s going on with the Puck Junk website and podcast.
In October 2022, PuckJunk.com celebrated its 15th Anniversary. Thank you. all for your support! This site has come a long way — from a fun little blog that had zero traffic, to the blog and podcast that it is today. If I did not have readers like you, reading this right now, I probably would have quit doing this a long time ago.
Speaking of support, readership was pretty even from 2021 to 2022. Even though card collecting cooled off a bit, die-hard collectors were still coming here in 2022 to read about hockey cards, collectibles, and culture.
I guess we can add conventions to that list, too, since a lot of our articles and podcasts have been about the National Sports Collectors Convention and the Toronto Sport Card Expo.
Surprisingly, it isn’t just Americans and Canadians who visit this site. Readers from 139 different countries visited Puck Junk in 2022. Most of our visitors comes from (in order) Canada, followed closely by the United States, with Finland, Sweden, and Czechia rounding out the top five.
Listenership of the Puck Junk Podcast grew a bit in 2022. Most of our podcast listeners are from the United States, then Canada, Germany, Finland and — checks notes — Australia? Yep, we have listeners from “Down Under.”
Although I fell short of my goal of releasing a new podcast episode every week, we still put out 31 episodes during the 2022 calendar year. That’s five more than the 26 podcasts we released in 2021, so that’s improvement I can live with. Our most-popular podcast episode for 2022 was about the 2021-22 Upper Deck Series Two Hockey cards, followed by our ’90-91 Retrospective about the groundbreaking 1990-91 Upper Deck Hockey card set.
Even though I love podcasting, my number one passion is writing. Fortunately, Puck Junk has several contributors who are willing to share their own perspectives on hockey cards, collectibles, and culture. Below is the list of Puck Junk’s most-read articles that were published in 2022.
1. Charlestown’s Secret Roller Hockey Scene
Published on September 19, 2022
New Puck Junk contributor Joshua Courter gives his account of secret roller hockey games played in Boston’s oldest neighborhood by up-and-coming prospects who may skate in the NHL one day.
2. The Ralph Macchio Hockey Rookie Card
Published on January 6, 2022
Ralph Macchio, star of the hit Netflix series Kobra Kai — which is a continuation of The Karate Kid films from the 1980s — is a huge New York Islanders fan. Back in 1991-92, Macchio got his own hockey card when he was the Islanders “Celebrity Captain” for the NHL’s 75th season.
3. No Stanley for Old Men: 2022 Edition
Published on May 3, 2022
An annual rundown of each playoff team’s “Old Man Without a Cup,” and why we would be happy if and when any of them get to sip from Lord Stanley’s Cup. Spoiler Alert: it was Jack Johnson of the Colorado Avalanche.
4. The Top 10 Hockey Collectible Stories of 2021
Published on January 30, 2022
Given hockey cards’ surge in popularity over the past two years, it is not surprising that an article that recaps the biggest hockey card stories of 2021 was a popular story in 2022.
5. The Best 2022-23 NHL Game-Night Giveaway Items
Published on October 11, 2022
Lists are the chicken nuggets of blog posts. They are easy to make and people seemingly can’t get enough of them. The same goes for freebies you get at a hockey game; people will line up two hours early to get that Alex Ovechkin bobblehead. This article lists the best game-night giveaways from each NHL team. Since the season is only half-over, you may want to check it out and see what free swag you can still get.
6. Clemente’s Corner: 5 Hockey Card Collecting Predictions for 2022-23
Published on October 3, 2022
New Puck Junk contributor Clemente Lisi gives five bold predictions on what he thinks will happen in the hockey card industry this season.
7. Five Things to Know About the Toronto Sport Card Expo
Published on June 7, 2022
Also written by Clemente Lisi, this article serves as a helpful guide to anyone who is planning on going to the Sport Card Expo in Toronto. Heck, it helped me — a first-time Expo-goer — when I went to the Expo back in November. Check it out if you plan on going to the Spring 2023 Expo in April or the Fall 2023 Expo in November.
8. 2021-22 Upper Deck Series One Hobby Box Break
Published on March 31, 2022
Upper Deck Series One, Series Two, and now Extended Series are always much-anticipated releases. The 2021-22 Upper Deck Series One set was hotly anticipated because of the inclusion of Young Guns rookie cards of Cole Caufield and Trevor Zegras. Plus, the set wasn’t released until March 2022, which just helped to fuel the hype.
9. An Interactive Look at the Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey All-Time Records
Published on February 10, 2022
Four fun charts that give an interactive history of Men’s Ice Hockey at the Olympics, including medal count by country, scoring leaders, and the tournament’s top goalies.
10. Clemente’s Corner: Recapping the 2022 National
Published on August 2, 2022
Clemente Lisi’s recap of the 2022 National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey rounds out this year’s list of the ten most-read articles on Puck Junk.
Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, listens to our podcast, and interacts with us on social media. I hope you all have a prosperous 2023!
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■