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Friday, February 10, 2012

National Hockey Card Day...In America & Canada??? No way.

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.

Here are the first 8 cards in the set.  The cards are divided up between "American Icons", America's Franchises", and "Stars And Stripes" subsets, if that's what you want to call them.  We have quite a few stars here and a pretty decent rookie in Landeskog.  The Icons have three of the top American born players of all time.  Not too shabby.

The second batch of 8 feature more top stars in the NHL as well as Willie O'Ree, one of the pioneers in the racial integration of the NHL.  You can also see the "pay" card which is Tim Thomas triumphantly taking his lap around the ice after winning the Stanley Cup last season.  All 16 together...not a bad set to have.

But here's the Canadian set.
Let's see...hmmmm.  Three of the greatest players of all time, arguably top five if not higher best goaltender of all time, and two of the top rookies of this years class.  Hmmmm.

Let's see here we have the biggest phenom of the last 20 years in Sidney Crosby, the best player drafted since Crosby in Stamkos, and the best player to be drafted since Stamkos in Taylor Hall.  Oh there is also a Gretzky card and the #1 rookie in this years class too in case you didn't think there was enough value here.

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.


  1. If you are wonder about the Autographs in the set
    USA Has
    Ovechkin (Russian)
    Ryan Miller (American)
    Bobby Orr (Canadian)

    Canada has
    Wayne Gretzky (Canadian)Best play in the game ever
    Ryan Nugent Hopkins (Canadian) Best rookie
    PK Subban (Canadian)

  2. Well at least you get a shot at an Orr

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  4. I wish they would have done these sets like they did the McDonald's basketball sets in the early 90's. The set was standard no matter where you lived, and then there was a special team set based on region. The tough part is Canada has a lot more to choose from than we do in terms of talent and history. And we get a card of Tim "this isn't a political statement but it is 100% about politics" Thomas, who cares really?

    And from everything I've heard from dealers the Canadian shows are not like they are here, apparently everything is based in BV there, so I'm staying put...for now.

  5. Connolly was in the Canadian set as well? Son of a ....... Great now that's something else I have to look for on eBay

  6. Nick I can't speak from experience but I don't know how they could base everything in BV. They have the internet in Canada too, don't they?

    And yes, Justin. Another card you have to chase. Ain't it grand?

  7. Just going off what I've heard, won't find any quarter boxes or $1.00 Young Guns like I hope to find in a few weeks at the show.

  8. By show I assume you are referring to the Sun Times show?

  9. You are correct. Haven't really bought much recently so hoping to find something new to start. Crown Royale is out, might actually buy my first ever Panini product.


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