Successful Toronto Sport Card Expo Not Just for Hockey Cards, Collectors

The Sport Card Expo in Toronto attracted a record crowd and proved that Canada’s biggest card show is not just about hockey cards and collectibles.

It was once billed as “the world’s biggest hockey show,” but the Sport Card Expo in Toronto is now much more than that.

The Expo, held twice annually in the spring and the fall, is Canada’s largest sports cards show. The most-recent Sport Card Expo took place on Nov. 9-12. While most dealers had quite a bit of hockey cards and memorabilia for sale, there was certainly no shortage of baseball, basketball, football and non-sports cards.

“People in Canada don’t only collect hockey,” says Mike Bergman, owner of Lower Level Sports Cards in Winnipeg. “People collect all sports — anything that has a card, even pop culture. It’s about collecting what they like and what’s in their mind from their childhood.”

Dealers from the U.S. who traveled north of the border also tend to shy away from bringing too much hockey with them.

“Here, I bring more of everything else but hockey,” says Chris Worczak, owner of Niagara Sports Cards in Niagara Falls, N.Y. “Everybody has hockey here. So, I’m going to bring the stuff that’s different, like vintage baseball cards.”

The Fall 2023 Sport Card Expo was the largest since the show first began in 1991. Not only did it boast a higher attendance, but the show was physically bigger, taking up just under 200,000 square feet across three halls at the International Centre in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga.

Read the article story at Sports Collectors Digest

The Best 2023-24 NHL Game-Night Giveaway Items

Hockey fans loves free stuff and will sometimes go through great lengths to get it. How else do you explain thousands of fans lining up outside of the rink on a freezing February night a good 90 minutes before puck drop – all so they can get a free bobblehead figure that kind of looks like their team’s star player?

Pro sports teams know this all too well, or they wouldn’t do it. Suddenly, a game that may have not drawn a sellout crowd does – all because of a special hat, shirt, or whatever the Flyers decide to put Gritty on this year. 

Since today is the start of the 2023-24 season, now is a good time to see what free goodies NHL teams have lined up for ticket-buying fans this year. Twenty-two out of 32 teams are planning at least one giveaway. 

Bobbleheads seem to be the most-popular item, with 12 teams planning on giving out at least one, and 39 different bobblehead figures being given away across the league. The Kings have five bobblehead giveaways planned, including a unique Dia De Los Muertos Goalie Bobblehead figure. The Red Wings, Canadiens, Kraken, and Blues are all giving out four bobbleheads during the season. The Blue Jackets are giving out three bobbleheads this year, including a special Bob Ross bobblehead limited to just the first 500 fans who buy a special ticket package. 

However, the Blues may have out-bobbled the competition this year with two of their planned releases: a bobblehead of Jordan Binnington on a motorcycle…

Binny on a bike!

…AND a Jordan Kyrou figure dressed as The Mandalorian – complete with removable helmet.

But a Mandalorian NEVER removes their helmet in the presence of others. 

Now, THIS is the way! 

The giveaway, that is. 

In fact, Star Wars themed nights seems to be the way that NHL teams are trending this year, as nine teams are giving away some sort of Star Wars trinket to help sell tickets:

      • Carolina Hurricanes – Star Wars-themed item (TBA)
      • Columbus Blue Jackets – Star Wars-themed jersey
      • Florida Panthers – Star Wars Shirt
      • Los Angeles Kings – Star Wars Retro Tin Lunchbox
      • Nashville Predators – Star Wars Predators Jersey
      • New York Islanders – Star Wars Bucket Hat
      • Ottawa Senators – Star Wars Senators Puzzle
      • Philadelphia Flyers – Star Wars Poster
      • St. Louis Blues – Star Wars Jordan Kyrou Mandalorian Bobblehead

Other interesting, non-Star Wars items that teams are giving out this year include an Arizona Coyotes Kachina Trucker Mullet Hat, a Columbus Blue Jackets Nesting Doll Set, a Detroit Red Wings Gravy Boat, Philadelphia Flyers Gritty Earmuffs, a Pittsburgh Penguins Trapper Hat, and a Washington Capitals Sonny Milano “Chia Head.”

Below is a list of the best promotional items that NHL teams will be giving away during the 2023-24 season. 

Continue reading “The Best 2023-24 NHL Game-Night Giveaway Items”

Visit Puck Junk at the 2023 National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago

…and Get a Free Set of Hockey Cards!

For the third year in a row, I will be at the National Sports Collectors Convention — a.k.a. “The National” — from Wednesday, July 26 to Sunday, July 30.

I will be at Booth #1011, right next to AU Sports (#1009), right behind Memory Lane (#1108/#1110), and very close to both the Main Entrance and the VIP Entrance.

If you can’t remember that I’m at Booth #1011, just look for the giant Memory Lane banner hanging from the ceiling when you enter the show — I’m right behind them! 

Drop by my booth, say “hi”, and check out the awesome hockey t-shirts and sports cards that I’ll be selling. 

I’m also giving away exclusive sets of Puck Junk Bad Hockey Card Hall of Fame Trading Cards. This six-card set highlights five of the worst hockey cards ever made and is limited to 500 sets. 

If you are at The National this week and want a set, be sure to drop by Booth #1011 to get one.

And if you are NOT coming to The National but want to get a set, contact me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or email and I will mail a set out to you in early August. 

The National Sports Collectors Convention starts Wednesday, July 26 and runs until Sunday, July 30. Click here for more information about the NSCC and to buy tickets. 

If you do come to the National, be sure to stop at Booth #1011, check out what I’ve got for sale, talk some hockey with me, and get a free set of cards! 

Love hockey? Join the Puck Junk Facebook Group, subscribe to Puck Junk on Apple Podcasts and  YouTube, and support this site at the Puck Junk Online Shop

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

A Collecting Evolution: Two Lines of NFTs Enter the NHL World

The NHL kept its distance from the NFT market – but that’s about to change with the launch of two new series of digital collectibles backed by the league.

While the NBA, NFL and MLB all entered the NFT game early, the NHL remained on the sidelines. But that’s about to change, with two lines of hockey NFTs launching.

An NFT, short for non-fungible token, is a type of digital collectible that peaked in popularity during the early days of the pandemic. NFTs usually depict celebrities, athletes or original artwork, and they contain motion, animation and sometimes video clips.

They use blockchain technology, a type of encrypted digital ledger that certifies the item’s uniqueness and tracks its ownership history and sales data.

These collectibles can initially sell for anywhere from a few dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, and resale prices can be much higher. One advantage NFTs have is that the licensor – such as a player, team or league – can continue to collect royalties whenever the item is subsequently resold.

An NFT is like a mash-up of a trading card and cryptocurrency. They’re more likely to appeal to so-called “crypto bros” than they are to collectors who buy packs of hockey cards.

Upper Deck hopes to change that with its new line of Evolution digital cards, launched in April. The company already makes traditional hockey cards licensed by the NHL and NHLPA.

“There’s a place for digital collectibles, but it was never done with the collectors in mind,” said Jason Masherah, president of Upper Deck.  Read the rest of the story at The Hockey News website. 

How to Prevent Your Sports Cards from Bricking

Longtime collectors remember when sports cards started using a high-gloss protective coating in the early 1990s. This coating – known as UV coating – gave the cards like Fleer Ultra and Topps Stadium Club a slick, premium feel to them. Collectors loved it!. But this eventually led to a problem called “bricking.”

Bricking is when cards get stuck together in a stack resembling a brick. And once they brick, they are hard to unstick. Read on to learn why cards stick together, what to do if they brick, and how to prevent that from happening in the first place. Read the rest of the story at the BCW Supplies Blog.

No Stanley for Old Men: 2023 Edition

Every year, many new players make their NHL debut. Some play in only a handful of NHL games, while a few are good enough to stick around for over a decade. Eventually, the fresh-faced rookies of yesteryear become the grizzled old veterans of today, who toiled season after season in the hopes of winning the Stanley Cup one day. And that day might be soon. 

With the 2023 NHL Playoffs starting tonight, here is a list of the oldest player from each team in the postseason — and why we should be rooting for each of them. 

Continue reading “No Stanley for Old Men: 2023 Edition”

Goodbye and Thank You, Bobby Hull

Chicago Blackhawks legend Bobby Hull — nicknamed “The Golden Jet” — passed away on Monday at the age of 84. I had heard rumors late last year that Hull was in poor health, but I was still surprised when the news broke of his passing. 

There are two camps of writers who have eulogized Bobby Hull over the past few days.

There are those who want to stick to his myriad of accomplishments, only touching on Hull’s history of domestic abuse and racist comments.

And there are those who really just want to demonize him, but will begrudgingly acknowledge that Hull was one of hockey’s all-time greats. 

I am going to take a third approach. Continue reading “Goodbye and Thank You, Bobby Hull”

Finding the Right Pages to Store Your Odd-Sized Trading Card Collection

If you are like me, you enjoy putting your trading cards in pages and albums, so you can protect your collection in a way that also lets you easily look at it. But one point of frustration for collectors is when they come across cards that are not the standard 2-1/2” by 3-1/2” size. What’s a card collector supposed to do with postcards, odd-sized team-issued cards, or even cards that are just a touch larger than normal size? Fortunately, BCW has you – and your cards – covered, as it has archival-safe pages that will fit almost any collectible.

The goal of putting your cards in pages is to protect them with as little “wiggle” room as possible, because you do not want the card to shift around or slide out of the pockets when you are flipping through a binder. Here’s a breakdown of the different pages that BCW has available to store your collection of odd-sized cards. Read the rest of the story at the BCW Supplies Blog. 

Puck Junk’s Top Articles of 2022

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, 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. 

Continue reading “Puck Junk’s Top Articles of 2022”

The Best 2022-23 NHL Game-Night Giveaway Items

It’s the start of the 2022-23 NHL season, where 32 teams play a slate of 82 regular-season games, with the hopes of winning enough to make the playoffs — or losing enough to get a high draft pick. But what better way to draw fans to a meaningless home game on a frigid Tuesday night in February than by giving them some novel trinket that they’ll soon sell on eBay — be it a bobblehead, poster, or the ever-popular magnetic schedule? 

Surprisingly, nearly half of  the teams — 14 out of 32 — are not giving anything away this year. These tended to be either Canadian teams  or U.S. teams in large markets like New York or Boston. 

Of the 18 teams that are having at least one giveaway, nine of them are giving out magnetic schedules. In fact, the Penguins are giving out magnetic schedules TWICE. 

Some of the better items that hockey fans can hope to get at a game this season include a Trevor Zegras action figure,  a Devils-themed Marvel comic book, and a Gritty hula dancer figurine.

Both the Ducks and the Coyotes are giving away something called a “Dad Hat.” If you are a father and know what that is, please let me know. 

The Kraken are giving away a league-high five bobblehead figures this year, while the Red Wings will give away four. The Blues are also giving away four bobbleheads, but all on the same night. I bet that will cause a few fights amongst the kiddos on the drive home. (“No fair! I got the Colton Parayko bobblehad! Why can’t I have the Brayden Schenn bobblehead? Mom!”

Below is a list of the best promotional items that NHL teams will be giving away to help draw fans to games over the season. 

Continue reading “The Best 2022-23 NHL Game-Night Giveaway Items”