Every 1993-94 Hockey Card Set Ranked

The 1993-94 season was my favorite year to collect hockey cards. Everything about that season was just so right for me. I was living with my Grandmother and going to a local junior college, so my cost of living was low. I was working full-time at a card and comic book shop, so I could buy new cards at a deep discount. I had just gotten my drivers licence, so I could drive around Chicago to other card shops or local shows to find the last few inserts I needed for a given set. Plus, I was still promoting a monthly neighborhood show, so a lot of times people would bring me cards that I needed. My situation in life made collecting easy for me that year.

As for the cards themselves, the 1993-94 season was the last year before hockey card collecting got out of hand. Packs were still affordable, with most between $1 and $3. (The 1994 NHL Lockout would change that, but that’s a story for another time.) There were really no short prints, other than the odd insert, so sets were fairly easy to complete. There were some great insert sets, but not so many different insert sets like it is today, where you can buy a box of cards and get 40 different inserts across 10 different insert sets. There were five different card companies competing with each other, so they had to try hard to do better than one another.

For example, Topps finally got with the program and printed its flagship set on quality card stock, with gloss coating and full-color backs. The company also issued the set in two series, so it could include rookies and traded players in their new uniforms later on that season.

Unfortunately, there were some casualties. Pro Set had gone bankrupt in 1992-93, and while it tried to issue a set for the 1993-94 season, its license was revoked by the NHL. The NHL also mandated that companies could only issue two sets per season, so Topps had to jettison its unpopular Bowman Hockey set, while O-Pee-Chee stopped making its own smaller, premium “Premier” set, as the “Premier” name would be used by both Topps and O-Pee-Chee that year for their large, two-series card sets.

One addition to this year’s ranking is how each company included Alexander Daigle in their sets. Daigle was selected first-overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. Pinnacle Brands — which made the Score and Pinnacle hockey card sets — had worked out a deal with Daigle, so that only they could picture him in a Senators uniform until he played in an NHL game. The other companies could not use a “Draft Day” photo, nor could they use photo manipulation to put his head on a different Senators player’s body. Thus, they had to get a little creative in how to picture that season’s hottest rookie in their hockey card sets that year.

As I have done with the 1990-91, 1991-92 and 1992-93 sets, here is my retrospective and ranking of every hockey card set issued in 1993-94.

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The Puck Junk Bad Hockey Card Hall of Fame: Class of 2019

You didn’t think I would forget about honoring bad hockey cards this year, did you? I launched the Puck Junk Bad Hockey Card Hall of Fame in 2017 with an inaugural class of 10 horrible hockey cards, and then followed up in 2018 with another 10 equally-awful cards. In 2019, another batch of baddies get their due.

Usually, I unveil the honorees right around the time the Hockey Hall of Fame holds it’s induction ceremony, but these past few months have been busy for me. Really busy. (If you read The Hockey News, then you’ve seen what’s been keeping me busy.) Fortunately, we still have a little time left in the year, so without further ado, may I introduce the Puck Junk Bad Hockey Card Hall of Fame: Class of 2019.

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Rookie Cards of Every NHL Head Coach for the 2019-20 Season

Some NHL head coaches had long careers in the NHL, instantly giving them credibility to the players that they mentor. Other NHL head coaches got nowhere near an NHL rink during their playing days, but worked hard and finally ended up in “The Show” behind the bench.

Regardless of their path, it is always fun to see what an NHL head coach looked like during their playing days. So, for a third year in a row, I’ve dug up a rookie card for each and every NHL head coach. For you non-collectors out there, a “rookie card” is usually understood to mean a player’s first card in a mainstream set, like Topps, O-Pee-Chee or Upper Deck, among others.

However, because many NHL head coaches never actually played in the NHL — or if they did, it was only for just a few games — they never got an official rookie card. In their cases, I decided to share those coaches’ earliest-known trading card — even if it was from a minor league or junior league team.

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Box Break: 2018-19 Ultimate Collection

Yesterday, I posted a break of Upper Deck Chronology Hockey Volume 1, a box that has just four cards. Today is a break of another four-card box, this time of 2018-19 Ultimate Collection Hockey by Upper Deck. The set came out about three weeks ago and costs around $140 for a box. Let’s see what that gets us. 

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Box Break: Chronology Hockey Vol. 1

All the cool kids on Twitter and Instagram were opening boxes of Upper Deck Chronology Hockey Volume 1, and showing off the cool autographed cards they got.

Chronology is a “living” set that will be ongoing over multiple releases. Volume 1 was released at the end of July 2019, while Volume 2 is slated to come out in summer of 2020. This is an interesting concept, as there are thousands of retired NHL players, making the sky the limit for who might be included in this set. 

A box of Chronology costs around $120 to $140 USD and contains FOUR CARDS. But three out of four are promised to be hits, so that’s enticing. 

I finally got my hands on a box of Volume 1, and wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about. 

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Box Break: 1991-92 O-Pee-Chee Premier

During The National last month, I purchased a box of 1991-92 O-Pee-Chee Premier Hockey cards for $5. It seemed like a fun retro break to do. The set is small, at just 198 cards, and seemed relatively easy to put together. Plus, I already had some doubles in my collection, so I thought if anything, I’d get a set out of the deal. I was wrong.

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Review: 1988-89 Los Angeles Kings Set

Trading Cards Brought to You by Smokey the Bear

At a glance:
– 1988-89 L.A. Kings Team Set
– 25 cards
– Standard Size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
– Download checklist

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention sponsored a set of Los Angeles Kings trading cards during the 1988-89 season. Of course, we know this Department best by their mascot, Smokey the Bear. The anthropomorphic bear told us, over the years, that “only you can prevent forest fires.” Since the set bears Smokey’s face on the front, the set is usually referred to as the “Smokey” or “Smokey the Bear” Kings set.  As is the case with most team-issued sets, many lesser-known players — as well as the coaches — are featured throughout.

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Stan Mikita Funeral Prayer Card

Last year on this date, Chicago Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita passed away. This is the prayer card that was given out at his funeral a week later. The front has a black and white photo of Mr. Mikita, most likely taken at one of the Blackhawks Conventions. 

But instead of a prayer on the back, the card has a quote by  Mr. Mikita that reads “Keep your feet grounded and always remember where you came from.”

Great words to live by. 

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

Hockey Cards That Need to Be Made

Ideas Beyond Jersey and Autograph Cards

My boss once gave me some advice during a performance review: “Don’t come to me with problems, come to me with solutions.” I’m sure it meant for me not to bother him complaints, but I took it another way. If you have a question, also have a variety of answers ready and we can figure out what’s best.

Taking this to heart, I’ve complained about how the rising cost of little cardboard rectangles should be worth your hard earned cash. Let’s be honest; you have a better chance of breaking even with a scratch off lottery ticket. But I’ve yet to offer solutions of what ideas would grow my little t-rex arms long enough to reach my wallet buried deep in my back pocket.

What follows are card idea, or notions at least, that are a breath of fresh air to the usual jersey cards and autographs. Upper Deck, if you’re reading this, you’re more than welcome to take these ideas and make them a reality for all the trading card nerds. But Panini – you you keep your hands to yourself!

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Five Hockey Rookie Card Bargains for Next Season

During the past season, several rookies like Elias Pettersson, Rasmus Dahiln, Andrei Svechnkiov and Brady Tkachuk were extremely popular with collectors based on their performance. Add them to the list of players who had breakout performances last season, but rookie cards from prior years like  Jordan Binnington, Nikita Kucherov, Dylan Larkin, and Mikko Rantanen. The better a player performs, the higher the demand for — and the cost of — his rookie card becomes. 

But collectors can still find several bargains out there, though these players’ rookie cards may not be bargains much longer. Here is a list of young NHLers that can still be considered bargains based on how they have developed with their teams and how they have been received by collectors up to this point.

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