Archive for Hockey
Upper Deck loves hearing about our passionate fans collections. And if the collections are interesting enough, we will feature them here. Such is the case with Danny Hamill who we have grown to know better with each Team Canada Hockey product we have released. With the 2013 Upper Deck Team Canada Hockey set releasing this week, we felt compelled to share his amazing collection. Danny, like many Canadians, has a tremendous appreciation and respect for the National Team. And he has amassed some items you just have to see to believe. This is his story:
I first starting collecting hockey cards when I was a young boy. I can still remember buying my first packs of 1969-70 O-Pee-Chee NHL cards. In those days I was just buying cards simply because they made watching the games on television more interesting as I got to know the players better. It was not long after this when O-Pee-Chee released a sub-set of cards from the famed 1972 Summit Series (commonly referred to as the ‘floating head’ design). I suppose that this was the very beginning of my collection of Team Canada cards as I still have those exact cards that I pulled from packs more than 40 years ago.
By 1979 I had stopped collecting cards and never really got back into hockey cards until the 1990-91 season when Upper Deck came on the scene to make collecting exciting again! I fell in love with the Upper Deck 1990-91 Team Canada cards and was once again bitten by the collecting bug. I have not stopped collecting since, but at times need to be a little selective with my collecting to allow it to fit in my budget.
My goal in the early 90′s was to attain every card that pictured a player wearing his or her Team Canada jersey. Although this was a daunting task with so many parallel cards starting to show up at that time it was a goal one could accomplish. At least I thought so. Then I started to discover the European cards of Team Canada players that I had no idea were out there. Consequently, I now have cards of players wearing their Canada jersey from international countries like Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, France, Russia, Czech, and Austria among others. A major hurtle for me was finding out what international cards really existed for Team Canada Hockey players.
One of my biggest challenges was to find a very small card of Team Canada that appeared in Sweden way back in 1936. I know of only two of these cards that still exist, one is in my collection and the second is in a collection housed in Sweden. Another of the great hunts that I had to go on was to find the four different 1926 Willard’s Chocolates cards of Team Canada players. This was a larger set that featured all sorts of people from different walks, including these four hockey cards. After many years of searching, Harvey at AJ Sports here in Toronto was the one who came up with these cards for me. After he told me he had these cards “somewhere,” I had to remind him for a few years to get searching for them. He finally did and now they are my treasure!
For me much of the success I’ve had with putting my collection together has come through the help of many dealers and collectors I have shared my collecting goals with. It is amazing to me how helpful collectors can be in helping another collector put together a set or trying to track down cards you really are not sure exist. I’d like to thank all the people who have helped me build the collection I have today. You really make this hobby so much fun and rewarding.
My collection is now 45 binders full and has become more than I ever could have thought possible. With all of these cards and stickers I do have some absolute favourites such as; 2004-05 Upper Deck Summit Superstars Legendary Signatures which is a small collection of 20 beautiful cards containing authentic hard-signed autographs. Another favourite in my collection is the 1999 Upper Deck Jersey cards of Wayne Gretzky. Now I have many Gretzky Canada jersey cards from Upper Deck and this still remains number #1 in my heart, although the 2011-12 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Jersey card of Gretzky comes in a close second!
Another favourite of mine is the 1990-91 Upper Deck World Juniors. Not an expensive set, to be sure, however I still remember being blown away by the idea of the Team Canada Juniors having a card set! I also love the 2013 Upper Deck 5×7 cards which were produced for Hockey Day in Canada. While the set was great, the jumbo cards were super cool! The 1996-97 Upper Deck Black Diamond release with the gold parallels was awesome too, especially with the inclusion of the gorgeous Joe Thornton rookie card. I also loved the 1998-99 Upper Deck Team Canada Jersey cards of the World Juniors, including the hard-signed version of a young Vincent Lecavalier. I also really love the Upper Deck 2009-10 Clearly Canadian cards which were a set of 42 clear acetate die-cut cards.
Destined to be a huge favourite will be the new 2013 Upper Deck Team Canada collection! I am very excited about this massive collection by Upper Deck! I can’t wait to add these cards to my collection! From what I have seen in early pictures, these cards look awesome!
Other favourite cards from North America are the 1997-98 Valu Net phone cards, a collection of 24 phone cards that came in multiple variations, including 22 hard-signed versions and two versions of a Gretzky card from Japan. The 1994-95 Score Platinum parallel cards of seven Team Canada players are not supposed to exist, but with help I was able to track them down along with the 1994-95 Donruss Elite set of 22 cards commemorating the Juniors fourth consecutive gold medal. A really big favourite of mine is the 1997-98 Esso set of authentic autographed cards. My collection of these cards doubled when a fellow collector in Calgary gave up on trying to finish the set and sold me his autographs.
Some of my favourite European cards include the 1969-70 Swedish Mastar-Serien set containing 23 cards (that I know of) including card #192 of Ken Dryden that is not supposed to exist, but does in my collection. I have added the 1936 Swedish ALFA card of Team Canada to my collection as well. Other favourite European cards include the 1997-98 Eurotel set containing eight Team Canada cards, the 1994-95 Finnish Kiekko card set containing 38 Team Canada cards and the 1994-95 set of Swedish Semic Sport cards containing 27 Team Canada cards, as well as the 1992 Finnish collection of Team Canada hockey stickers.
Another grouping of cards that are a lot of fun are Upper Deck’s Priority Signings autograph cards that are available through the wrapper redemption programs at the semi-annual Sports Cards & Memorabilia Expos in Toronto, Ontario. One of the reasons that I go to the Expo is expressly to track Team Canada versions of those cards. Right after the redemption program ends I really love running around that big room like a kid to see who has them available for sale or trade. It is so much fun!
After all of these years of collecting, I still have not found all that I am looking for, but my want list is not very extensive. Here are the top five most desired cards on that list:
1) 2004-05 Upper Deck Legendary Signatures, Summit Series #CDN-T Tony Esposito
2) 1997-98 Upper Deck Black Diamond QUAD #105 Alex Tanguay
3) 1997-98 Zenith Impulse GOLD #Z79 Alex Tanguay
4) 2006-07 ITG International Ice GOLD parallel #67 Bill Ranford
5) 2010-11 Upper Deck Team Canada Die Cuts GOLD #TC-WG Wayne Gretzky
I would love to hear from any fellow collector who can help with any of these five cards. If anyone is interested in seeing my fulfill want list, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always interested in networking with any other Team Canada collectors out there – perhaps I can help you out with your collection!
Thanks for sharing your story and your collection with us Danny! And good luck with future Team Canada Hockey sets from Upper Deck!
Upper Deck would like to thank our network of Certified Diamond Dealers and collectors throughout Canada for making the 2013-14 NHL® O-Pee-Chee wrapper redemption program in Canada such a great success over the last two years. Demand this year FAR exceeded our expectations, likely because of the buzz around the new rookie class with many key rookies appearing in the 2013-14 NHL O-Pee-Chee release. Upper Deck’s fulfillment center in Canada recently reported they have now depleted inventory on the 2013-14 NHL O-Pee-Chee wrapper redemption packs after receiving record numbers in this season.
As we initially reported when we announced this program, once the supply is depleted, the promotion is over. We want to thank everyone who sent wrappers in through their Certified Diamond Dealers and we hope you enjoyed the special red-bordered cards we created for you!
Recently Upper Deck ran a promotion with fans challenging them to use hockey cards to transform an ordinary room in their home or office. Upper Deck received dozens of responses from excited fans and it was amazing to see the lengths each collector went to in order to give their rooms a new look with hockey cards. Take a look at some of our favorites! Who knows, maybe you will get some inspiration to use hockey cards to makeover a room in your house?!?!
The collector who most skillfully transformed their room to be the ultimate hockey card hangout however was Richard Sandanam. He was very creative in creating unique themes for areas in his transformed room as you can see below:
fans love attending live events and many times visiting the city and various arenas is as exciting as the game. Like most sports fans, I spent much of my youth dreaming of visiting all the different venues for every franchise from my favorite sport, but unlike most fans, I actually did it a few years back. The October after I graduated high school, a buddy of mine, Dan Tsunekawa, and I loaded up my car and hit the road to watch hockey. We attended a game at every NHL arena and traveled over 20,000 miles in less than three months. It was an unforgettable time and one I hope some of you get to experience as well. The idea of an ultimate stadium tour is something on the bucket list of almost every sports fan and I wanted to share some tips with those of you who are looking to make your dream come true.
The first step in making your ultimate stadium tour happen is finding the time. Apart from money, this is the most difficult part of the trip. If you are still young, you can do what I did and put off growing up for a couple months taking the trip right after graduation. However, many of us have already stated careers and have only two weeks of vacation to work with. Two weeks may not be enough time to visit 30 different arenas, but you don’t have to see them all at once!
Meet Peter Farrell and Andrew Kulyk. Andrew is a politician for his hometown and Peter works for the U.S. Postal Service. Both have normal jobs like you and me but, by scheduling shorter trips, they have found the time to see every venue in the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB (Peter and Andrew’s website: http://www.thesportsroadtrip.com). We met up with them during our tour at a Sabres game and it was great to hear their insight.
So start small. Begin with local and regional stadiums. Once you have a couple arenas checked off your list, and have gained some momentum, you will find your stadium tour dream is much more achievable then you may have previously thought.
The next big obstacle to overcome is money. There is no getting around it, traveling around to see a bunch of live sporting events is going to take some serious cash; however, there are things you can do to make your dream a little more affordable.
- Ask for free tickets. Look up the director of fan relations and ask them for tickets. In most cases you will be politely asked to take a hike, but sometimes struggling teams will be stoked to get another warm body in their arena. If you are doing a blog of your adventure, sometimes they will also appreciate the free advertising they get from your posts. Another good idea here is hitting up the Facebook pages for the teams asking fans for ideas and sharing your quest. You may get some season ticket holders who hook you up with tickets, tailgate parties, etc.
- Learn to love the upper bowl. If you can’t score free tickets, don’t be ashamed to sit in the nosebleeds. The seats are cheaper and are typically filled with awesome diehard fans. It is easier on the wallet, and is often more fun.
- Find cheap or free parking. A select few arenas provide free parking, but in most cases you will be charged a premium price to park close to the stadium. Instead, park a little further away for free and walk. More and more arenas are being built in suburbs and as a result have shopping centers less than a mile away with free parking. Your car will be perfectly safe in the back of a grocery store parking lot for a couple hours. And since you may not be on the best diet during this road trip, your body will appreciate the exercise.
- Take public transportation. If the venue is downtown, don’t even bother driving. These arenas charge the most for parking, and it’s a headache getting in and out of downtown. Public transpiration will be the cheapest and easiest option in cities with downtown ballparks or arenas.
- Stay with friends. If your aunt tells you she used to work with a gal that knows a guy who might let you stay at his place, don’t be afraid to take advantage of that connection. I have found most of these random connections end up being great opportunities. The people I have encountered usually turn out to be some of the kindest hearted people I have ever met. And there are actually websites dedicated to helping hook up individuals on the go with a couch in different areas around the world. Crashing on a couch over a Hilton can save you a lot of money!
Enjoying the Experience
This is the fun part! Once you are at the game I encourage you to take the time to experience the personalities of each venue. Every stadium, ballpark or arena has its own uniqueness to it, and whether it is the fans, the history, or the architecture make sure you enjoy every bit of the experience.
- Make sure you walk around. Snap a photo with Harry Caray’s statue outside Wrigley Field or with Wayne Gretzky’s in Edmonton. Stadiums are proud of their history and celebrate it by hanging banners in the rafters and painting murals in the halls.
- Buy concessions. Let’s be honest, no live sporting event is complete without a soggy hot dog and a cold beer. Some venues are even renowned for their concessions. For example, a trip to Dodger Stadium isn’t complete without a Dodger Dog. So don’t forget to spend a few bucks on cheap stadium food.
- Another great thing to do is tell someone about your tour. Again, get in contact with the director of fan relations. Even if they don’t give you free tickets, they still might be able to enhance your fan experience. They might give you a tour of the locker rooms, or put you on the jumbotron!
- Interact with fans. There is a truly amazing camaraderie shared with every sports fan. Even if we cheer for a rival team, some good natured banter always makes the game a bit more entertaining. Just make sure you don’t cross the line. Sports games are meant to be fun for everyone. Don’t ruin your night as well as everyone else in your section by being a nuisance.
- Cheer. My last tip/ suggesting it to make sure you cheer at the event. Games are so much more fun when we are somewhat invested in the outcome. There is nothing like chanting with rowdy fans in the hallway after the home team wins!
I hope that helps! Do you have any tips you think I may have missed? Please share in the comments section below. Otherwise, get out there and enjoy the game!