Three Spooky Hockey Stories

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Hockey can work very well as the basis for a scary story. The game is played on ice — a cold, unforgiving environment that seems so alien when compared to a green baseball field. Hockey players wield sticks, wear masks, hit each other and fight. It is a violent, sometimes bloody sport; even more so 40 years ago. So it is not surprising that hockey found its way into the pages of several horror-genre comic books in the 1970s. Just in time for Halloween, here are three spooky hockey tales pulled from the pages of vintage comic books.
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Hockey and Superheroes: A Bizarre Team-Up

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“Captain America: Civil War,” the new Marvel movie comes out today, and oh man, am I excited. The movie features Captain America, who was my favorite comic book hero growing up. (Yes, I self-identify as “lawful good.” Deal with it!) It’s got Iron Man and Spider-Man and all the other superheroes we love.

My first-ever job was working in a comic book store, as a dorky, flannel-wearing teenager who spent his $4 an hour on comics and hockey cards almost faster than he could earn it. (Well, it wasn’t like I had many dates back then.) Today, I still collect hockey cards, and while I’ve cooled my heels on comic collecting, I still enjoy a good superhero flick.

Hockey fans who also like superheroes — or comic book fans who are at least tolerant of hockey — will be interested to know that there have been several notable crossovers between superheroes and hockey. Like ketchup on ice cream, hockey and superheroes is a strange combination that always had ridiculous results.

Here are six examples of hockey and superhero crossovers.

Continue reading “Hockey and Superheroes: A Bizarre Team-Up”

The Tampa Bay Lightning: A Championship in Newspapers

lightning_newspapers_mainEditor’s Note: Zach Bare is a new writer for Puck Junk. Please give him a warm welcome — even if you’re not a Lightning fan 🙂

One of my favorite ways to remember a historical event of the Tampa Bay Lightning is to save the newspaper from the morning after. That all started back in 2004, after the Lightning eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers and won the Eastern Conference en route to their first Stanley Cup appearance. It was only by chance though, that I ended up getting my hands on and then keeping these historic headlines.

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7 Incredibly Stupid Blackhawks Items

7 Incredibly Stupid Blackhawks Items

Chicago Blackhawks’ merchandise has finally reached the tipping point, plummeting into absurdity. When I started watching hockey in 1989, it was nearly impossible to find a Blackhawks t-shirt in Chicago. Twenty-six years and three Stanley Cup Championships later, you can hardly walk ten feet without seeing Blackhawks t-shirts,  towels or temporary tattoos for sale somewhere.  One side effect of the team’s success is that the Blackhawks will now license ANY item, no matter how incredibly stupid it is. Here are seven officially-licensed ‘Hawks items that left me scratching my head, wondering why any team would be OK with their logo adorning these.

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Chicago Blackhawks Puck Coin Bank

FrontPiggy banks are passe, but puck banks are awesome.  This is a large plastic puck, hollow inside, with a coin slot on the top and two “feet” on the bottom so it can stand upright. It measures 5 inches in diameter and was made in the 1970s.

I found this at my local card shop last month. At a mere $3, it was begging to come home with me. My site is called Puck Junk, after all, and though I don’t really collect pucks, I do like odd hockey items. So I had to find out more about this one.

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Phil and Tony Esposito’s Action Hockey Tabletop Game Print Ad & Commercial

Sell_Sheet_FrontI found this picture of Phil Esposito and Tony Esposito in a pile of old sports memorabilia at a card show a few years back. It shows the famous brothers playing for Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, along with facsimiles of their autographs. On the flip side is an advertisement for a tabletop hockey game they endorsed. Continue reading “Phil and Tony Esposito’s Action Hockey Tabletop Game Print Ad & Commercial”

Hockey Card Price Tag Sticker

hockey_card_price_tagI recently purchased 16 Jeremy Roenick Upper Deck rookie cards, which are from the 1990-91 season. Coincidentally, the card holders, now yellowed with age, are from 1990 too. And so are the price tags, which are marked $6.00. I paid 50 cents per card, but once upon a time a UD JR RC was a solid $6 card.

Upon closer inspection of these price tags, you will notice something cool. Continue reading “Hockey Card Price Tag Sticker”

1993 Action Packed Holiday Card

This holiday card was sent to shop owners in 1993. [Click to see larger]
This holiday card was sent to shop owners in 1993. [Click to see larger]

All right, the holiday season is still a ways off, but I couldn’t wait until December to show you this awesome, oddball item I recently acquired. Sharp-eyed collectors will recognize the Bobby Hull card above as a promo for Action Packed’s ill-fated 1994-95 Hockey Hall of Fame set, which was advertised but never produced.

But what really drew me to this is what the card came with: a holiday card! How about that? A holiday card that included a promo card. But this was the early 1990s, so putting a promo card inside of a Christmas card was just as good as putting a wrinkled $20 bill inside. Of course, looking back I’d rather have the $20. The Hull card can be found easily for around $5.

In 1993, Action Packed sent this to card shop owners. The holiday card measures 5″ x 7″ and included the Hull promo, which can be removed. It is the same Hull promo card that was given out in gold-foil promo packs.

At the bottom, the card greeting card reads “Happy Holidays from everyone at Action Packed.” To the right of the Hull card is two lists of Action Packed employees, noting 13 of them as “Naughty” and the other 13 as “Nice.”

Also notice the small tear in the holiday card, right above the Hull card. I asked the dealer who originally owned this if he tried to remove the Hull card. He informed me that he did not remove the Hull card, and that his holiday card came with the small tear already in it. An Action Packed employees may have torn the greeting card while trying to slide the Hull card in — it was probably one of the naughty employees.

Vintage Puck Haul

group_of_pucksI 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.” Continue reading “Vintage Puck Haul”

Pack Break x 6: Eraseez Collectible Hockey Eraser Game

packagePaper football is about to get a run for its money. Eraseez is a new line of collectible erasers by Bulls i Toy that double as a tabletop hockey game. Each pack retails for around $3 and contains two puck erasers, two sheets of stickers for the pucks and one hockey stick eraser.

pack_1The puck erasers are 1.5″ in diameter, and the stick eraser is about 2.5″ long. The logo sticker and NHL shield sticker are circular and meant to be affixed to the pucks to make them slippery.

sticksStick blade erasers come in at least three different colors: orange, red and blue.

face-offThe top of the stick blades have a hole in them so you can put in a pencil to make a hockey stick. All you need is a number two pencil (always bring a number two pencil!) and a smooth surface and you are ready to play.

puck_in_piecesThe puck erasers — referred to as puzzle erasers on the packaging — can be broken into three pieces. I was told that this was “just for fun,” but I would argue that this allows you to either make the puck lighter for a game play variation (if you pull off one or both surfaces before affixing the stickers) or to use the smaller surface “parts” as erasers. Speaking of which…

erased…Eraseez actually work as erasers. Usually, “fun” erasers look cool but don’t work all that well, but Eraseez can be used to eliminate your mistakes. Well, mistakes made in pencil, anyway.

Bulls i Toys generously provided six packs of Eraseez. Let’s see what we got: Continue reading “Pack Break x 6: Eraseez Collectible Hockey Eraser Game”