Puck Junk Pack Break: 1990-91 Pro Set Hockey Series 1

If you are anything like me, you are probably thinking, “Man, what the world really needs right now is another chubby geek opening packs of trading cards on YouTube.” 

Thus, I am happy to report that I am going to start doing hockey card pack breaks on YouTube. Or perhaps I should say restart, as I did do a few pack breaks on YouTube back in 2011, when I was less chubby but equally as geeky. 

Truth be told, I’ve been itching to restart making pack break videos ever since the COVID-19 pandemic gave me good reason to shelter-at-home. I work from home, and spend most of my time at home. I’m around my collection a lot more, and rediscovered a two-column shoe box of unopened hockey packs from various sets and years…and I think it is time I start opening these packs! 

But before I could attempt to become the George Lucas of hockey card pack break videos — who you calling scruffy-looking? — I had to change my living situation first. I had to find a new place to live, pack my belongings, move, unpack and get settled. I’m unpacked and settled enough that I can finally start creating some videos. 

To launch the return of my pack break videos, I’m starting with a pack of my favorite  cards of all-time: 1990-91 Pro Set Hockey Series 1. You get a lot of cards in the pack — and I actually got an extra card in this one. Plus, I pulled a pretty good card…well, good for Pro Set. 

If you watch this video, please fire off a comment, either here or on YouTube. Let me know what you think, either about the video itself and how it could be better, or about the cards that I got in this pack. Oh, and please be sure to subscribe to the Puck Junk YouTube Channel. ■ 

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Custom Card: 1978-79 Topps Bobby Orr

It’s the 50th anniversary of Bobby Orr’s most memorable goal —  the one where he’s flying through the air and celebrating after clinching a Stanley Cup victory — and that got me thinking. Bobby Orr, the greatest defenseman to ever play the great game of hockey, never had a decent hockey card when he played for the Chicago Black Hawks. All of his card from 1976-77 and 1977-78 use photos that have been crudely repainted, while his final card from 1978-79 used a photo of Orr in a Team Canada uniform. 

That always bothered me. So, I decided to give Orr a final card that is more fitting for a player of his magnitude.  Continue reading “Custom Card: 1978-79 Topps Bobby Orr”

The 15 Best Hockey Cards from 1989-90

Hockey card collecting was on a precipice during the 1989-90 season. It hadn’t yet taken the plunge into the abyss of overproduction, inflated prices and rookie cards of practically anyone who got within 10 feet of an NHL uniform — succinctly known as the “Junk Wax Era.”  Hockey cards were rapidly becoming more and more popular, accelerated by the trade of Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988. 

Yet, only two companies issued mainstream sets that season. The 198-card Topps set was sold in the U.S. and its near-identical, though slightly larger, cousin O-Pee-Chee sold a 330-card set in Canada. 

But if you dig a little deeper, you will find that there were many other cards issued that year that stray from the beaten path — from team-issue cards to minor and junior league trading card sets, to cards printed on the side of food boxes. 

Here is a look at the 15 best hockey cards from the 1989-90 season. Keep in mind that most of these cards aren’t particularly valuable, with most ranging from $2 to $5 each — and even that might be pushing it. Anyone with a love of hockey cards and hockey history should consider having these in their cardboard collection. 

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The Quest for Khabibulin

One collector. One mission. 24 cards.

Collector Daniel Gilchrist has collected everything and anything related to Nikolai Khabibulin for 25 years. He owns several game-used goalie sticks, a game-used jersey and game-used goalie pads once worn by “The Bulin Wall.” He also has dozens of autographs and thousands of cards of Khabibulin, who is — if you haven’t guessed it by now — Gilchrist’s favorite player.

Gilchrist set out on one of his biggest collecting goals in 2016 when he decided to track down all 24 Nikolai Khabibulin logo patch cards from the 2013-14 Upper Deck Edmonton Oilers Collection trading card set. Although the pieces of Oilers logo aren’t from a game-worn jersey, they are still a sight to be seen when assembled. Gilchrist recently talked with Puck Junk about what challenges there were in his quest to collect all 24 logo patch cards of his favorite player.

Sal Barry: How long have you been a hockey card collector?

Daniel Gilchrist: Since I was 14. My family moved from Winnipeg to Edmonton in 1988, a few days after Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Kings. My cousins sent me a care package when we moved, and it had a bunch of hockey cards in it, including a Brett Hull rookie card. That’s how I got started.

SB: How did Nikolai Khabibulin become your favorite player?

DC: It’s actually a pretty funny story. Continue reading “The Quest for Khabibulin”

2019-20 Allure Hockey Box Break #2

As a hockey card collector, I like chrome sets. I missed out on the whole Topps Chrome Hockey era in the early 2000s, and am envious whenever I see baseball card collectors get shiny sets like Bowman Chrome and Topps Chrome each year. I liked some of Panini’s chrome cards, especially Prizm from 2013-14. I also like O-Pee-Chee Platinum cards by Upper Deck. So, I was intrigued by Upper Deck’s new Allure hockey set, which was all about the shiny, reflective cards.

I recently busted a box of 2019-20 Upper Deck Allure Hockey cards. It was only eight packs, so it didn’t take me too long. Here’s what I got:

Continue reading “2019-20 Allure Hockey Box Break #2”

1990-91 Pro Set Series 1 Sell Sheet

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the 1990-91 Pro Set Hockey card set. Even almost 30 years later, it remains one of my favorite card sets of all time. Yes, they were printed by the boatload and had a ton of errors, but the set was colorful, had a ton of different cards to collect, and the most sought-after hockey insert ever made: the Stanley Cup Hologram!

This sell sheet, which measures 6″ x 6″, was given out in Canada in the summer of 1990 to promote the forthcoming release of 1990-91 Pro Set Series 1 Hockey cards.

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Box Break: 2019-20 SP Game Used Edition Hockey

Practically every card in a six-card box of 2019-20 SP Game Used Edition Hockey by Upper Deck is a hit. Each box is guaranteed to have one premium autograph or premium memorabilia card, plus three more memorabilia, autograph or “premium” hits per box. Clearly, the idea behind SP Game Used is to give collectors a shot at getting some awesome memorabilia cards.

Each box has one pack, which contains six cards, and costs around $100. That averages to about $17 or so per card and really puts the expectation that these will indeed be great memorabilia cards inside. Or, at least a cut or two above the standard “UD Game Jersey” cards found in Upper Deck Series one and Series Two.

Let’s see how my box stacked up.

Continue reading “Box Break: 2019-20 SP Game Used Edition Hockey”

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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