Tomorrow is National Hockey Card Day. A holiday of sorts that had been relegated to our friends north of the border up until this year. It has now crossed over in the United States and will be observed by hobby shops all across America. But for as much as I love the fact that the NHL and Upper Deck are trying to get into the spirit of promoting the sport and the joy of card collecting, I have to wonder if there is some sort of conspiracy against us Yankees.
Case in point.
The way this works is that you go to your local hobby shop. As a participant (Diamond Dealer certification from Upper Deck is required), there will be a specially marked 5-card pack awaiting your arrival. Within this pack are five cards from a unique set of 16 cards designed just for the occasion. As we now have the US and Canada as participants, it's only logical that there are two sets. The main 15 cards are available in the packs while the 16th card can be obtained via purchase. All well and good.
But here's where it goes awry. Has anyone checked out the checklists for the two sets? Yes? Then you know what I am talking about. No? Well let me explain. Better yet, let me show you. First the American set.
But here's the Canadian set.
Are you kidding me? Are you freakin' kidding me?
This is just another in a long line of reasons why moving to Canada as a hockey collector is not such a bad idea. Why on Earth did Upper Deck create a Canadian set of cards featuring, oh what a concept, an all Canadian greats and future stars set but make the American set riddled with European born players with accents thicker than Ivan Drago? So much for the "America's Franchises" moniker.
Don't get me wrong...I love Jagr and most of you know that, I also have nothing against Chara, or Rinne, Lundqvist, or Ovechkin (well maybe Ovechkin). But this is an American set. An American, limited edition set at that, to be given primarily to collectors and to help spur interest in the hobby with the youngsters. You aren't going to win young hearts and minds with Russians, Czechs, and Swedes that barely speak English. I'm sorry, but you aren't.
I commend UD for doing a nice job with the "American Icons". They should have made the entire set based on these and other current US born stars. I mean, where's Roenick, Tkachuk, or LaFontaine. Kane, Parise, and Miller are there. But how about other current stars like Bobby Ryan, Phil Kessel, Paul Stastny, or Dustin Brown? What happened to the "Hockey Is For Everyone" campaign? It should say, "Hockey Is For Everyone, As Long As You Aren't American Because Then You Have Little To No Chance Of Amounting To Anything".
Why does this bother me so much? I don't really know. I thought about this a bunch before posting this too because I felt like I wasn't being fair to Upper Deck. But you know what? I don't care. I think, and this is one collector's opinion, that although they attempted to include the US in the festivities of this special day, they did nothing more than patronize fans and collectors (us) with a "going through the motions" attempt at putting something on cardboard. Will I participate? Probably because I'm a collector and that's what we do. But I don't have to like it because, well, I'm a collector and that's what we do.
I'll definitely be attempting to get my hands on a Canadian set.