A very happy National Hockey Card Day to you all! I hope that you went out to your local card shop (or the hockey Hall of Fame, if you're in Canada) to celebrate appropriately.
If you are unfamiliar with this most hallowed hockey holiday, much like the newly resuscitated National Baseball Card Day, Upper Deck has been offering free packs of an exclusive set to collectors, each February, for three or so years now. At participating locations, patrons will receive one pack of these festive cards just for walking in the door, no purchase necessary. That said, I've noticed many a shop offering more to customers who plop down a little cold, hard cash on the counter, as well. But, I digress... the most important thing here is FREE CARDS!!!
So, you better believe that I hopped in my car this unseasonably warm and decidedly non-hockey-like morning to claim my cards gratis.
Here's the deal with the set. The checklist for the 19 card set features two, distinct sets for each of the United States and Canada, with a focus on players and teams from the respective nations. On the Land of Liberty side, the subsets include American Icons (legendary U.S. born stars), Stars in Stripes (current U.S. native standouts) and America's Rookies (pretty self explanatory). Additionally, there are some super rare, autograph cards with ridiculously long odds. However, those definitely are not the focus on this low-end set; this is all about drawing new collectors into the cardboard trap.
The Blackhawks have a handful of names on the State-side checklist, including rookie Tyler Motte, who's card I was most hoping to pull. Once I got inside my busier than usual LCS, I was immediately offered a coveted pack by a kindly and attentive employee. As a courtesy, I did my best to check out the store and make a true purchase, but there just wasn't anything to catch my eye, this time around. Plus, I was anxious to open my free pack and see how I did. I guess I'll just have to spend a little bit more next time.
So, how'd I do, eh?
As you can see by the picture at the top of the post, taken on the console of my automobile, I wasn't even able to make it home before I tore open the pack. When I saw this young and spry Eddie Olczyk staring back at me as the first card in the stack, I knew the trip had been worth the gasoline.
Joe Pavelski, center/right wing for the San Jose Sharks, hails from Plover, Wisconsin and, in fact, he won a silver medal as a member of the United States national men's ice hockey team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He is definitely a Star in Stripes.
Matthews might play north of the border, for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the hot rookie hails from San Ramon, California and does not shy away from pride for his native land. In fact, Auston got in a bit of hot water with his fan-base due to his openly cheering for Team USA during the World Cup of Hockey, earlier this season. I guess this means no rookie Motte card for me - c'est la vie.
Here we have another current, U.S. born star in Jonathan Quick, goalie extraordinaire for the L.A. Kings and native of Milford, Connecticut. Quick has twice been an Olympian for Team USA, in 2010 and 2014, the latter of which he served as the started between the posts.
We're almost done here - one more in this five-card freebie to go:
Blackhawks hot pack!
Looks like I definitely ended up with the right giveaway, with my second American Icon turning out to be Windy City favorite, Jeremy Roenick. Both Jeremy and the lead-off Eddie will look quick nice in my Blackhawks collection.
There was one more "card" to close out the free fun, a checklist for the American version of the set:
As you can see, I was lucky enough to pull half of the Chicago hockey content in just one pack - I'll take that luck, any day. But, those are the only two cards that I'm wed to from this pack-ripping experience; if you'd like to claim any of the other four cards that were displayed above, please let me know and I will gladly set them aside for you.
In summation, I would certainly say that Upper Deck's National Hockey Card Day 2017 was an all-around success, at least personally. Would I have liked to walk away with a rookie card of Tyler Motte? Without a doubt; however, pulling two Blackhawks cards from a five card pack is a more than pleasant surprise. I don't normally have that kind of luck when it comes to "ripping wax."
Did anybody else out there on the blogosphere take part in the National Hockey Card Day festivities? If so, how did you do? Feel free to share you experiences in the comment section below.
Meanwhile, on a related note, hopefully Topps will announce a 2017 date for National Baseball Card Day. I adore free cards.