Puck Junk is 1 today

Puck Junk 1st AnniversaryWow, I must have had like ten other things on my mind if I just now realized that PuckJunk.com has reached its first anniversary.

I launched this site on October 5, 2007, although it had been an idea I wanted to do since late 2006. Once I decided to quit my 40-hour a week job as a web designer to concentrate on teaching and freelance, the abundance of free time allowed me to develop, launch and maintain this site.

But while my passion for all things hockey has not diminished, my free time has. While I was able to crank out 35 assorted articles from October to December 2007 (plus random blog posts), my output from January to September has been less than that–only 32 “real” articles as of this writing…though I do seem to be doing a lot of random blog posts about hockey stuff more so than last year.

A few things have gone down that have taken up a lot of my free time. I started dating this girl named Shellie in January, and things have worked out well–so well, that we are now living together. No complaints from her about my collecting habits, here, as she has hobbies of her own. Plus, I’m starting to get her “into” hockey.

Another thing that I have mentioned is that I started Graduate School. That is also eating up a good portion of my “free time”. As much as I love writing about old sets of cards, the idea of getting straight As in Grad School right now is a bit more appealing to me. Not only am I going back to college, but I am also writing for the school’s paper.

So, while I don’t always write on this site as much as I’d like to, it is always on my mind. Hopefully, with the hockey season now upon us, I’ll be able to get some new reviews up soon.

Best $2 purchase ever!

I was thumbing through a binder full of miscellaneous hockey cards at the local card shop, and came across this beauty:

1974-75 O-Pee-Chee The HowesThe owner of the shop told me I could have it for two bucks. I informed him that this card was worth significantly more–even though the edges are a bit rough–but he said that I’m a good customer so he didn’t want much for it.

This card is very cool. It is from the 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee WHA set, and depicts Hall of Famer Gordie Howe along with his two sons Mark and Marty. This was Gordie’s first card in three years–his last being in the 1971-72 sets. But this card also serves as a rookie card for both Marty and Mark–the latter who would go on to play 22 seasons of pro hockey (six in the WHA followed by 16 in the NHL).

The card is not perfect. The edges have those typical OPC rough edges, and there seems to be a bit of a blemish to the right of Marty’s head. Nonetheless, for two bucks I ain’t complaining. It might be the best $2 hockey card purchase I ever made.

2008-09 Legends Masterpiece box breakdown

This weekend, I purchased my first box of hockey cards from the new season–2008-09 Upper Deck Legends Masterpieces. I was at Target and bought one of those “blaster boxes”, which contained 8 packs for the low, low price of $20.

By the way, eight packs for $20 is not a low price, especially considering that you only get four cards per pack. Counting sales tax (10.25% in Chicago), that makes each individual card “cost” about 69 cents each.

But are they worth it? I’m a sucker for “art cards”. One of my favorite sets is the old Hockey Hall of Fame postcard set. Since this Legends Masterpieces set is composed solely of artistic renderings of famous players and memorable moments, I thought I’d give these a shot.

I know blaster boxes don’t have great odds having any sort of insert card. This one in particular was devoid of any insert, chase or special cards–only base cards here. I’ve listed a pack-by-pack breakdown of what I got in the box:

Pack 1
#66 – Marty McSorley
#47 – Grant Fuhr
#32 – Phil Esposito
#76 – Andy Bathgate

Pack 2
#62 – The Sutters
#35 – Jarri Kurri
#38 – Wayne Gretzky
#12 – Mario Lemieux

Pack 3
#24 – Pat LaFontaine
#68 – Dale Hawerchuk
#23 – Mike Bossy
#85 – Mr. Hockey

Pack 4
#65 – Manon Rheaume
#25 – Lanny McDonald
#14 – Ray Bourque
#69 – Gilbert Perreault

Pack 5
#51 – Johnny Bower
#80 – Mr. Hockey
#38 – Wayne Gretzky (again!)
#31 – Tony Esposito

Pack 6
#40 – Rick Vaive
#21 – Patrick Roy
#49 – Brian Leetch
#9 – Richard Brodeur

Pack 7
#33 – Bobby Orr
#58 – Peter Stastny
#72 – Eddie Shack
#13 – Lester Patrick

Pack 8
#3 – Lady Byng
#28 – Bobby Hull & Mr. Hockey
#77 – Craig MacTavish
#60 – Rod Langway

As for the cards themselves, they are printed on a thicker card stock that has some texture, as well as embossed gold ink. I still think that the asking price for these is too high.

Fortunately, I only got one duplicate card–and that was of Wayne Gretzky, so I’m sure I’ll be able to trade it to someone.

I’ll post a review once I get the entire base set. In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite cards from the set so far…

DePaul Hockey Jersey

So, for like the first time in ages I bought myself a hockey jersey…

DePaul Hockey JerseyI recently started Graduate School. I am enrolled in the New Media Studies (aka “Multimedia”) program at DePaul University in Chicago. Well, it turns out that DePaul has a Collegiate Division II hockey team, which is pretty awesome because my undergrad college only had Ultimate Frisbee.

If there’s two things I like, it’s hockey and writing about hockey, so I went to the first game of the season this past Friday–not only as a spectator, but to cover the game for DePaul’s student newspaper.

It’s only been three weeks, but so far grad school has been pretty cool. I’ve totally enjoyed the class I’m taking, I get to write for their school paper and they have a hockey team.

As for the jersey…well, I couldn’t pass it up. It was $30, and has an old school look to it with the shoelace neck. Now I just got to find a place that can put some New York Ranger-style numbers on it.

Here’s the link to the DePaul Hockey Club.

Review: 2007-08 Victory Hockey Update

100-card update to complete a set you probably didn’t buy

2007-08 Victory #253 - Daniel BriereVictory is one strange little set. The first 245 cards were released in packs and boxes towards the end of August 2007 – almost six weeks before the start of the hockey season.

The next 100 cards – known as the “Update Set” – are actually inserts in packs of Upper Deck Series 2. Continue reading “Review: 2007-08 Victory Hockey Update”

Opening 530 sticker packs is not fun

I recently purchased 530 packs of 1995-96 Panini Hockey stickers, and let me tell you, opening 530 packs of stickers is not fun!

I imagine that this would be the hobby equivalent of shelling peanuts. As much as I loved buying and opening packs of Panini Hockey Stickers back in the day, it just isn’t the same. Now, it’s more akin to factory work–you do the same thing over and over and over until you just don’t care. There are no insert or chase cards to hope for, and (somewhat ironically) the wrappers tend to stick to the top sticker, making these a bit of a challenge to unwrap. Fortunately, the top sticker is a shiny, foil sticker, so any paper that sticks can be removed without damaging the sticker itself

I purchased this large lot of sticker packs with the delusion of being to complete eight or nine sets. After all, 530 packs would be a total of 3,180 stickers. Since each set contains 306 stickers, you could theoretically make ten complete sets and have 120 leftover stickers.

Theoretically? I am delusional. After opening 100 or so packs, I was quickly reminded on how bad the collation on these old Panini sets were. I’d end up getting like 12 of one particular sticker, and none of some other sticker. So, while I got a ton of stickers of guys like Eric Lindros, Ray Bourque and Mike Richter, what I’d really hope for is stickers of Mark Tinordi or Ian Laperriere, because those two seemed impossible to come by in these packs.

When all was said and done, I only completed three sets! I am five stickers short of competing a fourth set, 15 stickers shy of a fifth set and would need an additional 30 stickers for a sixth set.

On the flip side, I have 1,394 duplicate stickers I don’t need, as well as a bunch of sticker albums (each album came with 10 packs).

Should anyone have duplicates from this set, perhaps we can work out a trade? The stickers I need are posted in my Want List.

Likewise, if anyone needs an album, I’d be willing to give you one for just the cost of shipping.

Card of the Week: Soccer, Eh?

1993 World Cup Soccer #HC4 & 1994 World Cup Soccer #C8 – Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky Soccer Card 1993During the 1990s, several spokesmen for trading card companies would sometimes promote cards of sports they did not play. You had Eric Lindros on a Score baseball card, Rocket Ishmail on a Classic hockey card and Wayne Gretzky on an Upper Deck soccer card.

Because nothing — and I mean NOTHING — says soccer like Wayne Gretzky. Continue reading “Card of the Week: Soccer, Eh?”

Top 5 Gretzky commercials

It’s been a busy last couple of days, but I’m getting caught up and have been itching to post this for a while:

Top Five Wayne Gretzky Commercials

Seeing as how this month is the 20 year anniversary of “The Trade”, I figured these cheesy commercials featuring “The Great One” would be appropriate. So, in familiar countdown fashion, let us see the best that YouTube has to offer…

5. Bo Knows
This commercial, from around 1990 or so, stars Bo Jackson, the former athlete who starred in both pro football and pro baseball. There are numerous cameo appearances by many famous sports stars, including Gretzky himself. The story goes that Wayne was supposed to ask “Bo Knows hockey?” in the commercial, but kept messing up the line, causing the director to shorten his dialog. Gretzky appears around the 14-second mark.

“No.” That’s it–no. But Gretzky’s delivery makes that the funniest part of the commercial.

4. Domino’s Pizza
Bo may know baseball, football, tennis and hockey–but in 1994 Wayne Gretzky knew that the only great pizza is a fresh pizza. Watch as Gretzky skates across a sheet of ice to deliver a pipin’ hot pizza to your front door.

Apparently they did not have to shorten his dialog to “No”. Though I wonder if the kid tipped him.

3. McDonald’s Gretzky vs. Sundin
Gretzky’s acting ability got way better in the late 1990s, when he played for the New York Rangers. Here, he has a puck shooting contest with Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin–the loser has to buy the winner lunch at McDonald’s. Surprisingly, this commercial is pretty good.

“Aren’t you getting hungry yet?”

2. Bud Light “Bubble Boys” ad campaign
In 2000, Bud Light beer ran a series of commercials starring the “Bubble Boys”–two talking little hockey men from a tabletop hockey game (sometimes called “bubble hockey”). Gretzky was named the commissioner of the “Bubble Boys Hockey League”.

Later on, Gretzky was asked how he’d fare as a bubble hockey player…

“Go get him!”
“We can’t! We don’t go back there!”

1. 7-Up
Wow. Just, wow. This one is so bad, it’s awesome. There’s no way I could not make this #1. This commercial from 1981 stars Wayne and his younger brother Keith.

Stilted dialog, bad puns, horrible jingle…this one gets a hat trick!

“At last, clean, refreshing 7-Up.”

Honorable Mention – Phoenix Coyotes
What can be funnier than Gretzky “bench pressing” in that last commercial?

Gretzky coaching.

Oooh, burn!

Actually, this commercial merits an honorable mention because Gretzky’s acting is halfway decent here, as he interacts with an angry French-Canadian snowman puppet.