Upper Deck to continue Hockey Card Day in 2010

For a second year in a row, Upper Deck hockey cards will be given out at card shops and retail chains across Canada to celebrate National Hockey Card Day, or NHCD as the cool kids like to call it.

NHCD will happen on Saturday, January 30, 2010. Those who visit a Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, London Drugs, Rexall, Jean Coutu, Pharma Plus or a local participating card shop will receive a free, 5-card pack featuring all-new hockey cards.

And while only one pack will be given out per customer, there’s no rule against visiting as many of these shops as possible. There are 15 cards in the set, so you’ll need to get at least 3 packs to try to complete a set…or 6 packs if you want to hook your buddy Sal up with a set.

Here is the 15-card checklist:

5 “2009-10 Rookies” cards:
– John Tavares (New York Islanders)
– Matt Duchesne (Colorado Avalanche)
– Jaime Benn (Dallas Stars)
– Evander Kane (Atlanta Thrashers)
– Logan Couture (San Jose Sharks)

5 “Pride of Canada” cards:
– Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
– Vincent Lecavalier (Tampa Bay Lightning)
– Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils)
– Mike Richards (Philadelphia Flyers)
– Rick Nash (Columbus Blue Jackets)

5 “Heroes” cards:
– Jarome Iginla (Calgary Flames)
– Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks)
– Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks)
– Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton Oilers)
– Steve Yzerman (Detroit Red Wings)

The “Rookies” and “Pride of Canada” cards look great. The full color photo, placed atop a sepia-toned background, really make the player “pop”. The bold red or blue bars punch up the design while also playing off of the red, white and blue “National Hockey Card Day” logo.

But the sepia-toned “Heroes” cards are a bit lacking. The “National Hockey Card Day” logo should have been sepia-toned too. But it isn’t, so it sticks out like a sore thumb. A shame, since the “Rookies” and “Pride of Canada” cards have such carefully-considered designs.

Then again, the cards are FREE, so who am I to complain about the design?

However, I would like to complain that these are only given out in Canada. How about us fans in the U.S.? Don’t forget that 24 of the 30 teams are here south of the border, and that the Winter Classic will be held in Boston this season.

Anyway, be sure to check out the National Hockey Card Day website. Eventually, they will post a list of participating retailers who will be giving out these free cards.

Road Rash Roenick

1996-97 Leaf Limited card #86 – Jeremy Roenick

1996-97 Leaf Limited card #86 - Jeremy Roenick During the summer of 1996, the Chicago Blackhawks made one of their worst trades in the decade – hell, in their history – when they sent fan-favorite Jeremy Roenick to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Alexi Zhamnov, Craig Mills and a first round draft pick. As a result, the Blackhawks became a downright abysmal team for the next 12 years. Another downside was this cheesy, tacky card of Roenick straddling a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Note the manly tassels hanging from the handlebars. Continue reading “Road Rash Roenick”

1963-64 Parkhurst #12 – Bob Pulford

Yes! I did it! I now have 20 cards from the 1963-64 Parkhurst Hockey set. Twenty out of 99, 20%, one-fifth (1/5) of the complete set.

This card is of former Toronto Maple Leafs player Bob Pulford. Sometimes, I forget that Pulford had a pretty good playing career. For so long, he has been associated with the Chicago Blackhawks–as a coach, then a GM, then a coach again, then a GM again, then a Senior Vice President.

So, as it stands I have acquired 2 cards from this set in 2008, and 18 cards in 2009. I have 79 cards to go to complete this set. While I’d like to get 1 card a week in 2010, that’s probably unrealistic. Maybe when I finish grad school and re-enter the full-time work force (knock on wood), I’ll be able to afford some of the more pricey cards.

Fantastic Fowl

1991-92 Kellogg’s Card #24 – Cornelius Rooster

1991-92 Kellogg's Card #24 - Cornelius Rooster During the 1991-92 season, a set of 24 hockey cards was issued in specially-marked boxes of Corn Flakes cereal. Superstars found in the set included Steve Yzerman, Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic, Brett Hull…and Cornelius Rooster. Though small in stature, the Corn Flakes’ famous mascot overshadows them all, putting up numbers that would make even The Golden Brett jealous. Continue reading “Fantastic Fowl”

Thank you, David

I got to give a shout out and say “Thanks!” to David M. of Industry, Pennsylvania. David so kindly sent me three cards that I needed from the 1979-80 Topps set, including the sweet, unmarked checklist that you see here. And he didn’t even want anything for them either…just the satisfaction of helping out a fellow hockey collector.

I am now only 6 cards away from completing my 1979-80 Topps set. And yes, I do have the Gretzky–though I wouldn’t mind another one 🙂

1963-64 Parkhurst #49 – Ian Cushenan

The 19th card in my never-ending quest to complete a 1963-64 Pakrhurst set. This is only the 4th Red Wing I have in this set, and the first Red Wing I’ve picked up since July.

The back of the card has a special offer for a Stanley Cup replica–only 35 cents and 4 wrappers. Of course, 35 cents was a lot of money in 1963, as I think cards were only 5 cents a pack back then. But you got to wonder how big of a replica Stanley Cup that would have bought someone.

NHL SportsPicks 23 photos

McFarlane Toys has just released photos of NHL Series 23, due out in January 2010. This series will feature some brand-new sculpts, as well as some re-paints. Also, it will be the first time McFarlane Toys inflicts introduces their different “Collector Level” variations on unsuspecting eager hockey fans.

Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
This figure is a repaint of Martin Brodeur 2, released in NHL Series 9 (December 2004), but of course with a different head. Given his team’s Stanley Cup victory last spring, a figure of Fleury makes sense. Too bad it is not an action pose, though.

Alexander Ovechkin 4, Washington Capitals
About two weeks back, I mentioned how tired I was of Alexander Ovechkin having a figure in seemingly every other SportsPick assortment. Well, I take that back. This toy looks fantastic. Ovechkin celebrates a goal; stick raised, mouth open and teeth missing. Oh, and he’s rockin’ the playoff beard too.

Gordie Howe, Hartford Whalers
EPIC FAIL! What should have been my favorite figure in the series is in fact looking like it will be my least favorite. I don’t mind that the figure is a straight-up repaint of the Gordie Howe figure from Legends Series 6 (December 2007). But I wish the head sculpt was different. This Howe figure looks more like Reggie Dunlop from Slap Shot

…than Mr. Hockey at the end of his career:

If the figure looked more like Gordie here, then it would have been a winner.

Luke Schenn, Toronto Maple Leafs
Not much to say here. Good pose, glad they used the blue home uniform. Next up…

Bobby Orr 3, Boston Bruins
Bobby! According to their website, this “Bobby Orr action figure is based on his legendary 1970 season.” But big-time figure geeks will recognize this as another repaint-with-a-new head. This figure was originally Jean Beliveau way back from NHL Legends Series 2 (April 2005). Orr was 6-0, and Beliveau 6-3. Close enough in height to use one figure as another.

Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks
Another decent action pose. But what’s really got me excited is…

Teemu Selanne, Winnipeg Jets
Yay! A player in a uniform from a defunct NHL team! And I’m not being sarcastic, either. Who wouldn’t want this figure? Unfortunately for old-time hockey fans and those still holding a candle for the Jets, this figure will be one of the hardest to get in this series. Which brings me to our next topic.

Collector Level
Apparently, the occasional chase figure was not enough. In addition to normal chase figures (say, a player in his road uniform instead of his home uniform), there are even harder-to-get chase figures, known as “Collector Level”. The levels are Bronze, Silver, Gold, Premier, All Star and MVP. Here are the reported quantities of each “Collector Level” figure in NHL Series 23. Note that this information was reported by an online retailer, but has not been confirmed by McFarlane Toys:

Bronze – 1000-2000 – Bobby Orr in white jersey

Silver – 500-1000 – Marc-Andre Fleury – Gloves and stick at his feet, base painted to look like red carpeting.

Gold – 250-500 – Gordie Howe in Green Jersey – I am not sure how this will vary from the “normal” Gordie Howe in green jersey that is part of the regular assortment.

Premier – 100-250 – Alexander Ovechkin 4 in All Star Uniform.

All Star – 50-100 – Teemu Selanne in Jets uniform.

MVP – 1-50 – Gordie Howe in white jersey with Authentic Autograph

The “Classic Chase” figures will be of Schenn or Ovechkin in road (white) jerseys instead of the normal home jersey versions.

Personally, I don’t care one way or another about a figure having a signed base like the “MVP level” Gordie Howe figure mentioned above. But making a major paint variation like the Jets Selanne figure super-limited will aggravate a lot of fans. Most of the time, variants are cherry-picked before they even hit the shelves at your local Toys R Us. Why go through all the trouble to entice us, when all 50 to 100–or however many end up getting produced–are whisked away by toy store managers or stock room boys before you or I have a chance to get one? You know that you are not going to just walk into a Wal-mart and find a Gordie Howe with signed base figure just sitting on the shelf, waiting for you.

Perhaps this is a ploy to sell more cases of toys to consumers via online retailers. Again, according to the McFarlane website, “Every SportsPicks assortment case is guaranteed to receive a special Collector Level or Classic Chase figure.”

In other words, buy a sealed case and you will either get a Classic Chase (boo) or a “Collector Level” (yay) figure.

Knowing that I won’t get a Selanne figure puts me in a poor state of mind before bedtime…

UPDATE: Where are my manners? I was so irate about the predicted rarity of the Selanne-as-a-Jet figure that I forgot to link to McFarlane Toys article about NHL Series 23. Photos are courtesy of McFarlane Toys.