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
Honorary Captain 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.

Review: 1999-00 Cleveland Lumberjacks team set

Pre-NHL card of goalie Nabokov keep this set from being forgettable

1999-00 Cleveland Lumberjacks - Evgeni Nabokov

Given away at a home game in November 1999, the Cleveland Lumberjacks team set contains 24 cards. The ‘Jacks were a minor-league hockey team in the old International Hockey League (IHL). Formerly in Muskegon, the Lumberjacks were the top minor-league affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins for 14 years until 1997. In 1999, the team became affiliated with the Chicago Blackhawks. Thus, this set has mostly Blackhawks’ prospects and minor leaguers. It does, however, have a card of future superstar San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni NabokovContinue reading “Review: 1999-00 Cleveland Lumberjacks team set”

Review: 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

Lame design and low-quality besmirch the OPC name

2007-08 O-Pee-Chee #399 - Sidney CrosbyFor the second year in a row, Topps has leased the name “O-Pee-Chee” to Upper Deck for use in branding a large set of hockey trading cards. Whereas the prior year’s set of cards was a bit more appealing, this year’s set proves that Upper Deck could stamp the words “O-PEE-CHEE” on a box of crap, and we’d buy it. Continue reading “Review: 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee Hockey”

New acquisitions

A few weeks back, I attended the National Sports Card Convention, which was held right outside of Chicago. I was hoping to find at least one moderately-priced card from the 1963-64 Parkhurst set.

But that did not happen. Sometimes you find what you seek, and sometimes you don’t. I think that, after nearly 20 years of hockey card collecting, the key is to be open to deals that you are not necessarily looking for. So, while I did not get any cards from that landmark set, I still made an interesting purchase, acquiring three pricey cards and two oddball items.

Did I get a good deal? Take a look and judge for yourself…

Item #1 – Bobby Orr comic

This was an insert in the 1971-72 Topps set–and coincidentally, the last of the mini comic I needed to complete the 24-book set. The last two pages have a crease on the corner (a bit “dog-eared”), but there is hardly any yellowing and the colors are still bright.

Item #2 – Marcel Dionne rookie card

I absolutely love the design of the 1971-72 sets. Since I already have the entire Topps series from that year, I decided to turn my attention to the larger O-Pee-Chee issue. Dionne was a hell of a player, and is one of the pricer cards in this set. This card is not perfect–it has soft corners at the bottom and two very light creases…so light, that I did not even notice at time of purchase.

Item #3 – 1972-73 OPC Checklist #334

The ’72-73 OPC set intrigues me because it uses many different photos than those used on the ’72-73 Topps cards. Plus, there are cards of players from the World Hockey Association. This is the most expensive checklist in the set–even more so because this is the error card variation. Card #334 was printed twice–earlier incarnations list cards 335 to 341 as “More W.H.A. Hockey Stars”, while the card printed later corrected this, listing the actual names of the players.

Here’s a close-up of the back:

This checklist is unmarked, and surprisingly in good condition, with relatively sharp corners and decent centering.

Item #4 – 1980 Kelloggs’s Olympic Stick’r Cards Team USA

A neat little find, this undersized card is also a sticker. I didn’t know the likelihood of finding one of these again, so I snapped it up. I have written about this card here.

Item #5 – 1994 World Cup Soccer Wayne Gretzky

This was from an insert set in the 1994 Upper Deck World Cup Soccer set. Apparently, Gretzky was one of several “Honorary Captains”. I think the Charlton Guide lists this at $20, but I could be mistaken.

So, what did I pay for all of this hockey goodness? The dealer sold all five of these cards to me for $60 USD. I feel I got a pretty sweet deal.

But what do you think? Did I do good? Or were the old cards too low-grade for your tastes?

Color Me Krushelnyski

1988-89 O-Pee-Chee card #221 – Mike Krushelnyski

Mike Krushelnyski Hockey CardWhen Wayne Gretzky was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings, other players were also involved in that deal. We tend to forget that sometimes, as “The Trade” was really, more or less, a Gretzky-for-$15 million dollars swap. But several more guys changed teams too. One such player was Mike Krushelnyski, who went with Gretzky – along with Marty McSorley – from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. Martin Gelinas and Jimmy Carson – along with some draft picks and mad amounts of cash – in turn went to the Oilers. The trade rocked the sports world, and to a lesser extent a few hockey cards. Continue reading “Color Me Krushelnyski”

The King’s New Clothes

1988-89 Topps #120 – Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky 1988-89 Topps Hockey CardWayne Gretzky lucked out on two counts after his trade to the Los Angeles Kings. First off, while Gretzky was sent to the team with arguably the worst uniforms at the time, he never had to wear them. Up until then, the Kings wore those god-awful purple and yellow uniforms. After “The Trade,” the team changed their uniforms to that stylish silver and black getup we all loved in the 1990s. No giant “Imperial Margarine crown” for Wayne.

The other lucky break for The Great One was that he was exempted from the time-honored tradition of the “airbrushed” hockey card. Continue reading “The King’s New Clothes”

NHL Soups satire video

Does anyone remember the “Wayne Gretzky Soup” made by Cambpell’s Soup during the 1996-97 season?

Yeah, seriously, Gretzky was on soup cans towards the end of his career. The picture to the right will prove this.

Anyway, I have one final satirical clip to share from the 1997 NHL Awards, where they featured fake commercials or other humorous skits before and after commercial break. This last one is for more NHL player-inspired brands of soup.

Stew Grimson, anyone?