No Stanley for Old Men: 2022 Edition

The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs started last night, and that got me thinking about which NHL veteran I would like to see win the Stanley Cup this year. Yes, Joe Thornton, who has played for 24 years now in the NHL, is my obvious choice for “greybeard” who I want to see win the Cup.  But there are many other worthy veteran NHLers that have toiled year-in and year-out and also deserve to sip champagne from hockey’s ultimate prize.

Here is a list of the oldest player from each playoff team who has yet to win the Stanley Cup, and why we should be rooting for each of them this spring. 

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Ticket Stubs: The Hobby’s Hottest Collectible

How the pandemic and professional grading have made ticket stub collecting more popular than ever.

While trading cards may always be number one among sports memorabilia enthusiasts, ticket stub collecting has gradually heated up over the past two years. It has done so for two reasons. The COVID-19 pandemic and grading companies have both made collecting physical ticket stubs more popular than ever. However, digital ticketing may erode some of that enthusiasm – but maybe not for long.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first caused shutdowns and “shelter at home” orders in March 2020, many people started at-home hobbies. Some discovered, or rediscovered, sports card collecting, causing cards to surge in popularity and price over the past two years. Then, ticket stubs experienced its own uptick in interest.

“The pandemic got more people to look at their ticket stubs and see if they could sell them on eBay,” said Paul White, who has collected ticket stubs for 30 years. “People wanted to see if their ticket stubs are worth something, and to some people, they are. I’ve actually found more ticket stubs on eBay since the pandemic, which has been a benefit.” Read the rest of the story at the BCW Supplies Blog. 

An Interactive Look at the Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey All-Time Records

The Men’s Ice Hockey tournament at the 2022 Winter Olympics just started. Do you need a crash course on some Olympic hockey records to impress your friends? Or maybe you just need a refresher since the last Olympics. Then take a look at these interactive charts, which give a snapshot of the most-important records in the Men’s Ice Hockey Olympic tournaments over the past 102 years. 

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The Top 10 Hockey Collectible Stories of 2021

Yes, we are already one month into 2022, but I wanted to take a look back at hockey card collecting in 2021. Just like the year before it, almost every story in 2021 was affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. But not all of it was bad! More people got involved — or re-involved — with card collecting. This led to some new ideas and opportunities. Here are the top 10 hockey collecting stories of 2021. 

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Puck Junk’s Top Articles of 2021

Happy New Year, loyal Puck Junk readers. Before we get into new content for 2022, I wanted to give a recap of Puck Junk’s most-read articles of 2021, and a brief update about what has been going on with this website.

As we all know, the trading card hobby has experienced a resurgence in interest over the past two years; much of it as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic making more people stay at home and spend their money on other activities besides sporting events, concerts, and travel. 

As a result, Puck Junk has experienced it’s highest readership of all time. In fact, traffic on this site has grown 75% between 2020 and 2021. And as I’ve always said, it is more gratifying when more people read this site. I still remember how excited I was back in late 2007 when I finally had an article read by 10 people. Yes, just getting to double-digits was such an accomplishment back then. So, I am very grateful today that thousands of people read and enjoy what I write.  

Likewise, listenership of the Puck Junk Hockey Podcast has increased 35% between 2020 and 2021. Again, it is great to see more people engage with the podcast that myself and Tim — and many times Blake and Jim — work on. We don’t always get an episode up every week, but we try. Hopefully, we will increase our output of podcast episodes in 2022. 

Anyway, below are the 10 articles published in 2021 that were read the most. So, take a look at this list and be sure to check out any articles that you missed the first time. 

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The Best 2021-22 NHL Game-Night Giveaway Items

Today is the start of the 2021-22 season. All teams will play a full 82-game schedule for the first time in three seasons, and all teams will allow spectators at their games. Also making a comeback are game-night giveaways. You know, the free stuff that you can get when you go to certain games. 

So, here is a list of the best game-night giveaway items that teams will dole out during the 2021-22 season — from a Ryan O’Reilly Winter Classic bobblehead, to a Star Wars-themed Flyers poster, to ugly holiday sweater t-shirts that several teams will give out. 

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How to Remove Tape from Trading Card Top Loaders

One of the biggest pet peeves in the trading card hobby is the so-called “tape loader” — a perfectly-good trading card top loader that has clear tape stuck to the top of it. This is done to keep a card from sliding out of the top loader when sent in the mail. While that seems courteous of the sender, the problem is that it pretty much ruins the top loader. Peel off the tape and it leaves behind a sticky residue that will transfer to other top loaders that it is stored with. Leave the tape on and it becomes a trading card supply that you don’t want to look at. Either way, it’s pretty much useless. Price tags adhered to top loaders also cause a similar conundrum. 

Many times, I’d just throw out a sullied top loader. That made sense when a 25-pack of top loaders cost $4 or $5. Who wants to spend time trying to salvage something that could be replaced so cheaply? 

But now, standard-sized top loaders cost upwards of $10 per pack — if you can find them.  Top loaders for jersey and game-used cards cost more. Top loaders are too expensive to throw out these days and are actually worth cleaning and re-using. 

Here is how you can get rid of tape and tape residue from top loaders and make them as good as new.

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Goodbye and Thank You, Tony Esposito

Chicago Blackhawks legend Tony Esposito passed away on Tuesday at the age of 78. Like practically every other hockey fan, I had no idea that he was ill. And like the rest of the hockey world, I was shocked, surprised, and saddened by the loss of the man known as Tony-O.

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Puck Junk Will Be at the 2021 Natoinal

Puck Junk will have a presence at the 2021 National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago this weekend, July 28 to August 1. I’ll be splitting space with AU Sports at booth number 1011, right next to Memory Lane, and very close to the Main Entrance and the VIP Entrance. 

I will be selling hockey t-shirts at 20% off the regular price. 

And I’ll also be selling some complete hockey sets — from the late 1960s all the way to the modern era, as well as a bunch of single hockey cards from all years. 

Drop by Booth 1011, say hi, talk hockey with me, and grab one of my new “business trading cards,” which would look great in a nine-pocket page or top loader. (Speaking of which, I’ll have packs of top loaders for sale at the show, too.) 

I will also be giving away a limited number of these sweet-looking face masks with the Puck Junk logo printed on them.

These machine-washable masks are two-layered, have adjustable ear loops and an adjustable nose piece, which is essential for guys like me who wear glasses.

If you can’t remember my booth number, just keep an eye out for my banner. 

The National Sports Collectors Convention starts Wednesday, July 28 and runs until Sunday, August 1. Click here for more information about the NSCC and to buy tickets.

And if you do make it to the National, be sure to drop by Booth 1011, check out what I’ve got for sale, and talk some hockey! 

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