Mike Fruitman is the owner of Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, Colorado. He publishes a recurring piece for our friends at Sports Collectors Daily called, “What’s Hot in the Shop.” We asked him to share what collectors should be looking out for when they visit shops for National Hockey Card Day and here’s what he said:
On Saturday, March 3, 2018 collectors at hobby shops both in America and Canada will be celebrating the return of Upper Deck’s National Hockey Card Day with free packs for all who visit participating retailers. This marks the 10th year that Upper Deck has stepped up to support hobby shops with this incredibly popular program, making it the longest continuously running hobby promotion unless the lack of sleep from preparing for it is affecting my questionable to begin with math skills.
Collectors south of the border will enjoy a 15-card set featuring five U.S. rookies, five current players and five retired greats. Card #16 is a Memorable Moments card of Jake Guentzel recognizing his 21-points in the Stanley Cup Playofffs which is available as a gift with any $10 Upper Deck purchase. Those lucky enough to snag a signed card can possibly hit autographs from Clayton Keller, Pat LaFontane or Ryan Kesler.
Those who are north of the border will enjoy the same style of 15 base cards and their bonus with purchase card is of P.K. Subban Memorable Moments card from the Nashville Predators as his first game against Montreal is immortalized. The Canadian autograph selection has chances of ink from Guy Lafleur, Josh Ho-Sang and Mark Schiefle.
Now for the tough part, which of the fun 2017-18 NHL® releases should collectors give a first or second look at to get their bonus cards? I typically write a piece for www.sportscollectorsdaily highlighting the hottest 5 releases in my hobby shop and I am honored to be able to write for the Upper Deck Blog today. Think of it as a scouting guide to some of the options I hope your local card shop has for you to play with this Saturday.
#1 – 2017-18 NHL® Upper Deck Series One
Sure it’s been out since before everyone got their holiday presents, but it is still on the top of my current season product box sales. With Young Guns rookie cards of players like Brock Boeser, Tyson Jost, Nico Hischier, Charlie McAvoy and others, Series 1 looks like it will have staying power well beyond National Hockey Card Day. If your hobby shop still has any left, I would suggest having fun with one or two boxes there and perhaps stocking away another one or two boxes before they sell through them all. Series Two is also available in stores and boasts a bevy of cool Easter Egg (unannounced surprise insert cards) content like the Young Guns Retro Acetate cards. Don’t miss that one either!
#2 – 2017-18 NHL® Artifacts
My second best-selling release from this year is another early season arrival. Artifacts is always a strong seller and in spite of so many newer products to choose from, collectors are still clamoring for the three hits per hobby box. The other five packs deliver either a serial numbered card or a rookie redemption with a chance at the 1:90 pack autographed rookie redemptions that get lots of hobby love. With possible autographs from Wayne Gretzky, Martin Brodeur, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux and others, it’s no surprise that boxes are still flying.
#3 – 2017-18 NHL® SP Game-Used
I know I started with a healthy amount of SP Game-Used, but I have had to restock it multiple times. The puckheads at my shop are once again grooving on the single pack presentation with four autographed or relic cards per pack. I know set collectors lose their hair over how the base set is numbered to the player’s jersey number making it tough to complete a set, but if you are one of the lucky six people who pull the Brock Boeser base rookie card, then feel free to take a few weeks off since I cannot even find record of one selling. It’s not all about the base, ‘bout the base as the Rookie Draft Day Marks are back and what is cooler than pulling a rookie autographed letterman? Also returning are Stadium Series net cards and I will gladly admit that all the action at my shop stops when one of these gems gets pulled.
If you thought the SP Game-Used Set was going to be a bit of a challenge to complete, allow me to introduce you to its big brother of fun sets to work on; Synergy. The 2017-18 NHL® Synergy release happens to be the most recent Upper Deck hockey card product to hit the market and I am hoping to see a load of it get busted this Saturday and beyond. The base veterans are numbered to 17, the legends to 8 and depending on the rookie grouping; you have some to 18 and others to 8. Fear not, there are plenty of parallels to choose from and with 15 colored parallels per box, collectors can still have oodles of fun as they break their 8 pack boxes. If you are lucky enough to pull one of the two autographs per inner case, you might be rewarded with players like Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Connor McDavid, Joe Sakic, Jonathan Toews, Auston Matthews, Patrick Roy, Steve Yzerman and even that Wayne guy again.
Apparently Upper Deck has a thing about including eight packs in their boxes and the mainstay once again has been delivering since it hit back in early January. Boxes yield an average of three autographed cards per box and five individually numbered singles. My collectors are once again digging the plexi-glass cards with possible signed Ice Scripts, Personal Scripts and the one every lightning strike Scripted Hall-of-Fame Plaques limited to just 25 copies in total. With a group that includes Wayne Gretzky, Teemu Selanne, Patrick Roy and Mike Bossy, I would gladly “settle” for any of them. There is no shortage of the autographed puck cards and those always seem to cause a stir when pulled in my shop.
These are the products that collectors have been clamoring for in my shop, but there are a variety of others worth taking a look at like MVP and O-Pee-Chee for beginning collectors and Black Diamond and SPx for more seasoned collectors. Make sure to talk with your local card shop about what products are popular for them and grab them while you can!
I hope you all enjoy the fun of Upper Deck’s National Hockey Card Day, ESPECIALLY if you have any younger collectors in your house. Please make sure you check with your local card shops to see if they are offering any cool promotions on top of the free packs and bonus cards. Don’t be late to National Hockey Card Day as packs do run out. Visit UpperDeck.com/NHCD to find a list of participating retailers in your area. Share your National Hockey Card Day experience on social media by using the #NHCD hashtag! Most importantly, have fun and share the hobby with others. Don’t be like these two!