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”

It’s Puck Junk’s 15th Anniversary!

Earlier this week was the 15th Anniversary of when I launched Puck Junk. After several months of designing and developing, made its debut on October 5, 2007. My first article published on this site was about the 2007-08 Victory Hockey card set, followed by articles about the fake Wayne  Gretzky Indianapolis Racers card, and the 1988-89 Frito Lay Hockey set

The first-ever article on was about the 2007-08 Victory Hockey card set. My opinion on Victory has softened over the years. 

I originally wanted to start a hockey website in 2006, when I got back into hockey card collecting as a hobby. But my job at the time kept me busy and with little energy for any extracurricular activities. When I quit my job in late summer of 2007, I finally had the time to make Puck Junk happen. 

Another incentive for me to start this website was that I — incorrectly — thought that no one would ever give me a chance to write about hockey or hockey collectibles. Starting this website gave me an outlet to do that, but it led to so much more. 

Over time, my writing improved. I became a freelance writer for The Hockey News, Beckett Hockey Magazine, and several other publications — some that are no longer around. I was a regular guest on XM Radio and later on Sports Byline USA to talk about sports collectibles. And in 2015, I got my Master’s Degree in journalism. That was also the year I started the Puck Junk Podcast with Tim Parish.

A lot of my thoughts about running Puck Junk for so long are unchanged from when I reflected on this site’s 10th Anniversary back in 2017, so I don’t want to rehash any of that here. 

Instead, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the old screen shots and site banners from over the years. Admittedly, I did not take many screen shots of this website; I mean, why would I?

But I do have all of this website’s banners, which shows how Puck Junk’s look and feel has changed over the years, and how it has evolved from *just* a hockey card blog to a website about hockey cards, collectibles, and culture. 

Please take a visual stroll with me down memory lane. 

Continue reading “It’s Puck Junk’s 15th Anniversary!”

Visit Puck Junk at the 2022 National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City

Puck Junk will be at the 2022 National Sports Collectors Convention this week in Atlantic City, New Jersey, July 27 to July 31. I will be splitting space with AU Sports (Booths 900/904), located directly behind our friends at Memory Lane (801/805). Here’s a map that shows where I will be at. 


Or, just look for the giant Memory Lane sign hanging from the ceiling near the entrance. I will be set up 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. 

The National Sports Collectors Convention starts Wednesday, July 27 and runs until Sunday, July 31. Click here for more information about the NSCC and to buy tickets. 

If you do make it to the National, be sure to stop at Booth 900/904, check out what I’ve got for sale, and talk some hockey! 

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

The Great Hockey Card Comeback

The hobby of hockey-card collecting has been reinvigorated by a global pandemic, an abundance of free time and…Michael Jordan? So you might want to dig through your closet to see if you’re sitting on a million-dollar rookie card.

A lot has changed with hockey-card collecting over the past 30 years. Heck, a lot has changed in the past two years. Those small pieces of cardboard we grew up with haven’t been this hot in three decades.

Collecting hockey cards was a modest little hobby until 1990, when it exploded in popularity. “To me, 1990-91 was the peak of the golden era of hockey cards,” said

Jason Masherah, president of Upper Deck, a company that makes trading cards licensed by the NHL and NHL Players’ Association. “You had the culmination of incredible rookies, new licensees, huge print runs and Wayne Gretzky was playing in the United States. That level of interest in hockey cards had never been seen before.”

But by the mid-1990s, hockey cards had settled back down to a niche hobby, more popular in Canada, less so in the U.S., and only really appealing to diehard fans. Then it boomed again in 2020, due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic.

First, the 2019-20 NHL season was paused while the league figured out how it could operate during a pandemic that had spiralled out of control. Next, people were asked to shelter at home, to help slow the spread of COVID, while governments determined what to do. Concerts, vacations and other plans were cancelled. Many people, with money to spend and no place to go, turned to at-home hobbies. For some, it was drawing, baking bread or working out. Others discovered – or rediscovered – sports-card collecting. “The idle time renewed their interest,” said Joe Daley, owner of Joe Daley’s Sports and Framing. “People had time on their hands, had money to spend and, for whatever reason, got back into the cards they had stored away in their youth and decided they should do that again.”

Daley, a former NHL and WHA goalie from 1968 to 1979, opened his sports-card shop in Winnipeg in 1988 – just before hockey cards first spiked in popularity. And hockey-card collecting hasn’t been this popular in 30 years. “Until the pandemic hit,” he said, “we haven’t seen this type of flurry in the card industry since the early 1990s.”

Continue reading this article at The Hockey News.

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.


The 5th Annual Puck Junk Awards

A.K.A. 7 Awards the NHL Needs Right Now!

Every year, the NHL gives its superstars awards to celebrate their talents — from Cale Makar winning the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman, to Auston Matthews winning the Rocket Richard Trophy for leading the league in goals. 

But what about the other guys who contribute to their teams in less obvious, but still important, ways? Why not give out an award to the player who can fight and score goals, or the least-likely goalie to appear in an NHL game? 

Thus, back in 2018, I created the annual Puck Junk Awards to give due the the NHL’s toughest mofo, the most hated player, and heck, even the most-traded player, among others. Special thanks to Puck Junk Podcast cohost Tim Parish for helping with the voting process. 

So here are the 2022 Puck Junk Award Winners! 

Continue reading “The 5th Annual Puck Junk Awards”

Five Things to Know About the Toronto Sport Card Expo

Story and photos by Clemente Lisi

Sports card collectors have the annual National Sports Collectors Convention to look forward to at the end of every July. Hockey card collectors, on the other hand, got to enjoy the Toronto Sport Card and Memorabilia Expo during the first week of June.  

Sometimes referred to as the “Canadian National,” the Expo typically features tons of hockey cards and collectibles and sections of the showroom floor do sometimes feel like you’ve stumbled into a museum. The spring edition of the Expo that took place from June 2-5 was no different.

It was the first spring Expo held at The International Centre, located near Toronto’s Pearson Airport, since the pandemic forced stay-at-home orders and halted travel. The easing of COVID-19 restrictions, both in the U.S. and Canada, made for large crowds during the four-day show, which was moved from March.  

While the majority of people at the show hailed from all over Canada, a few out there, like me, made the trek across the border to Toronto. After four days in Toronto, I totally recommend taking such a trip in the future. For example, Toronto takes as much time for me to get to from New York City by plane (just two hours) as Atlantic City, site of the next National, is by car. It’s true that airfare costs more, but finding a deal is possible. 

For anyone considering attending the Toronto Sport Expo in the future, here are five things from this last show that you should know. 

Continue reading “Five Things to Know About the Toronto Sport Card Expo”