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With this being my son’s second year playing hockey, he is starting to show more interest in the NHL® and with the merchandise associated with it. I took this as the perfect opportunity to introduce him to one of my favourite hobbies from my childhood; collecting hockey cards.
I could tell by the look in his eyes as he tore open that first pack of Upper Deck Tim Hortons cards that he was going to get hooked in the same way I had some 30 years earlier. The clincher was when I pulled out all my old cards and spent a whole afternoon explaining who the players were and how much effort went into completing my sets. Remember, we didn’t have eBay or online trader forums back then to grab those last few singles. We actually had to work for it if we wanted to complete a set. Old man rant, over.
The hardest part of collecting with my son so far has been allowing him to do things his way. Where I was always very meticulous about having my cards in order and protected from wear and tear, my son likes to organize his by teams at the moment and I often find them spread out on the floor in his bedroom. Not wanting to be the overbearing collector/parent, we have compromised and decided to keep one binder for completing sets and then what he does with the rest of his cards is up to him.
The lesson here is that there is no bad time to start enjoying the hobby with your kids. Upper Deck even came out with Dinosaur cards which are great if your kids are not quite into the sports you love yet. It is a fun, safe hobby that you can enjoy together.
We have spent hours laughing together, learning about different players and completing massive trades. I have loved teaching my son about trade values and seeing how quickly he has picked up on it. As I got older I let the monetary value of the cards take over from the joy of collecting and I’m pretty sure that’s why I stopped buying cards. It has been nice to have the chance to start over and to teach my son that the fun is simply in collecting the cards, appreciating them at their most basic levels and not in the value they may carry today or tomorrow.
Next up on our list is Upper Deck’s 600 card NHL® O-Pee-Chee set which will provide us with our first real set challenge. I already love the retro cardboard feel the set provides and can’t wait to crack a few more boxes open. Between that and Connor McDavid making his NHL® and hockey card debuts this year, there has never been a better time to start your collections.
Do you remember your first set? Mine was the 1986-87 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set and I still have it locked up in my basement. Leave a note in the comments and reminisce about the good old days with me!
Chris Read is the voice behind Canadian Dad. He is a father, writer, brand spokesperson, and advocate for Dads everywhere. Chris writes about parenting for several sites including the PTPA, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, and Life of Dad. Chris is also the co-founder of the Gil Read Memorial Foundation, which helps less fortunate kids compete in sports.