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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■
Get Free Exclusive Hockey Cards — in the U.S., in Canada, and in Europe!
Saturday, July 24 is National Hockey Card Day in the United States and in Canada — and, for the first time, several European countries as well! Card shops in the United States will give away packs of cards exclusive to the U.S. Several card stores in Germany, Austria, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and France will also give out the same packs given out in the U.S. Card shops in Canada, as well as Toys R Us and London Drugs, will give cards exclusive to the Canadian market.
Which of these “Old Men Without a Cup” Will Go All the Way in 2021?
The NHL Playoffs start Saturday, which raises an inevitable question in my mind: who is the oldest active player on each team to not win the Stanley Cup?
Then, I always think back to the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals. Twenty years ago, it seemed that the whole hockey world was rooting for the Colorado Avalanche to win so that veteran all-star defenseman Ray Bourque, then 41, could finally lift the Stanley Cup. Bourque had led the Boston Bruins to the Cup Finals in 1988 and 1990, but lost both time to the Edmonton Oilers. Fortunately for Bourque, he was traded to the Avalanche in 2000 and won the Cup with Colorado in 2001, so he got to cap his 22-year career as a champion.
But not all veteran players get to go out like Bourque did. Some play nearly two decades and/or reach their 40th birthday and never come close to winning the Cup. Here is a look at the oldest player on each team in the 2021 NHL Playoffs who has yet to win hockey’s ultimate prize. Which veteran on this list are you hoping will finally lift the Stanley Cup this year?
President’s Choice Trading Cards will release a new hockey card set this Friday called “Roots.” The cards picture Original Six Era players — like Eddie Shore, Glenn Hall and Gordie Howe — and have a piece of game-worn memorabilia on them. Roots cards are serial numbered to 1, 2 or 3 copies each.
The full press release is below: Continue reading “President’s Choice Trading Cards to Release “Roots” Hockey Card Set”
Upper Deck announced today that they have signed L.A. Kings first-round draft pick Quinton Byfield to an exclusive autograph deal. Upper Deck will sell memorabilia autographed by Byfield, who was picked second overall in the 2020 NHL Draft. He is the highest-drafted black player in NHL history. Byfield made his NHL debut on April 28, 2021 when he suited up for the Kings against the Anaheim Ducks.
“We are proud to have Quinton as an exclusive spokesman,” says Gabriel Garcia, Director of Upper Deck Authenticated. “He’s already made NHL history and we look forward to being a part of his journey as he continues to break barriers. We couldn’t be more excited to offer his fans a collection of new and authentic memorabilia.”
Some of the autographed items bearing Byfield’s signature are signed L.A. Kings hockey pucks, signed Sudbury Wolves jerseys and signed prints varying in size from 16″ x 20″ to 16″ x 24″. Items are available for purchase at the Upper Deck’s online store and range in price from $399 to $999. Upper Deck Authenticated is also selling prints autographed by Byfield and fellow 2020 Team Canada teammate Alexis Lafreniere, who was selected first-overall by the New York Rangers in 2020.
The full press release from Upper Deck is below: Continue reading “Quinton Byfield and Upper Deck Sign Exclusive Autograph Deal”