Trailblazer O'Ree

60 years ago today, Willie O'Ree became the first black player in the NHL - breaking the color barrier in the sport of hockey just as the legendary Jackie Robinson did for baseball 11 years earlier.

O'Ree made his NHL debut with the Boston Bruins on January 18, 1958 against the Montreal Canadiens. He would play in a total of 45 NHL games over parts of two seasons as a winger for the Bruins.

After Wille's stint, there would not be another black player in the NHL until the 1974-75 season.

I picked up the above 2006-07 Parkhurst Willie O'Ree autograph card several years ago and it remains in my collection as a personal favorite.


2011-12 Upper Deck Series II Hobby Box

After what felt like a long week of work and ongoing home renovations that sometimes seem like they will never end - ‘twas nice to come home to find a box of cards that I have been waiting on tucked inside my mailbox.

2011-12 Upper Deck is actually one of my favorite flagship Upper Deck releases in recent memory. I tend to hold a soft spot for the product since it's one of the first sets of cards that I picked up when I started buying cardboard again.

Like every box of 11-12 Upper Deck Series 2 - this one was chalk-full of update cards ie. Victory, MVP and O-Pee-Chee.

Nearly seven years later, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins remains the rookie card to look out for in terms of value from the 2011-12 products (his Young Guns card can be found in Series I). Although his variety of rookie cards have gone down since their initial release date, they continue to stand at the top.

Over the past seven years, I'm sure all you readers have seen your fair share of 11-12 Upper Deck base so I'll just get straight to the hits.

The highlight of this hobby box was an MVP One-On-One Signatures featuring Joe Colborne and Cody Hodgson; these dual autograph cards fall at a rate of 1:3500 packs. Despite the strong checklist, I landed the ‘dud’ of the group.

Things didn't pan out for Colborne as Toronto fans had hoped and now finds himself in the AHL skating for the San Antonio Rampage. Cody Hodgson has hung up the skates after being diagnosed with malignant hyperthermia, a genetic disorder that can be triggered by prolonged physical activity.

Exclusives fall at one per hobby box. I think I did pretty good with Malkin.

Ales Hemsky relic card featuring a blue swatch from an Oilers sweater. Did you know that Hemsky sits 8th on the all-time Edmonton Oilers scoring leaders list? I did not know that. Considering the history of legendary players who have passed through the system since the beginnings of the franchise, eighth position in team scoring history is pretty outstanding in my opinion.

These UD Game Jersey cards fall one per hobby box with their more sought after patch versions numbered /15.

Holmstrom, now a member of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, has become an AHL mainstay throughout his professional career.

Rookie Materials, like the UD Game Jersey cards, are a one per box hit. Patch parallels are also available, numbered /25.

The Young Guns that I pulled weren't anything to write home about; fair enough, Series II was fairly weak in regards to the rookie crop so I wasn't surprised with the outcome. If I was to pick my most prominent Young Guns card from the box, it would be Patrick Maroon who has been having some of his best numbers playing alongside McDavid.

Overall, I was happy with how the break went. The MVP One-On-One Signatures, despite the players on the card, was a really cool pull given the odds. Unfortunately I lost a lot of ground at completing the base set due to the amount of O-Pee-Chee/Victory update and MVP cards spread throughout the product.


Hello 2018

Reading everyone's 2018 collecting goals over the past week or so has really inspired me and admittingly also made me a tad bit envious. I've seen some beautiful cards making the cut in those best pulls and pickups of the year lists.

As for my own 2018 goals - I just want to blog more. Hell, I would be pleased if I could just keep a blog up in general by the end of the year. I'll continue to work on that.

I would also like to keep things organized; a task which I have also seemed to horribly fail in the past.

I have a few things currently in transit which I'm looking forward to showing you all here on the blog. Fingers crossed for a prosperous hobby year ahead for one and all.

I stopped into my local card shop just the other day to pick up a 3000 Ct. storage box; figured I would start the New Year off with a hobbyist's idea of a clean slate. I couldn't leave without picking out a pack - since it was in the dead of the World Juniors, I thought I'd go with Upper Deck's Team Canada Juniors as it was only fitting.

My first pack of 2018 and it's a hit! I hope it's an omen for things to come. It's a red swatch relic card but I'm not complaining, I mean, I'm still into pulling the odd jersey card - it's cut from a Team Canada sweater which makes it kind of cooler.

I  haven't heard of Blayre Turnbull before pulling this card but after doing a quick Google search I discovered she was recently named to Canada's 23-member roster for women's hockey at the upcoming Winter Olympics. Sounds promising!

Speaking of which, I'm really looking forward to Olympic hockey - men's and women's. Regardless the fact that there are no current NHLers involved in the tournament for the first time in 23 years, I'm still eager to watch those hard fought, competitive, tooth & nail type games which will certainly occur.


Merry Christmas 2017

Wishing all my readers, friends and fellow cardboard bloggers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays to you and yours. I hope that Saint Nick is good to y'all.


2017-18 Parkhurst

While tying up the loose ends of my Christmas shopping over the weekend, I found myself in the aisles of Wal-Mart looking through the cardboard selection. I knew that I wanted to begin building the 2017-18 Parkhurst set so I promptly picked up three blasters and went on my merry way.

2017-18 Parkhurst is a Wal-Mart exclusive product that weighs in at 300 cards, 100 cards less than last years installment. Each team features several players and 47 total rookies. There are also three checklist cards in the mix. Parallels cover the entire set in the form of "red border" (1:3) and "black border" (1:12) variations.

Parkhurst gives collectors the first look at players who were moved during the off-season in their new colors. I'm still not completely adjusted to seeing Patrick Marleau play in a Maple Leafs jersey!

Yakupov is on track to have the best season in his career; which isn't really saying much as his career highs in goals (17) and points (31)  were set during his rookie season nearly five seasons ago. Everything after 2012-13 has been considered unfulfilling for a NHL 1st Overall Draftee. It's good to see him begin to show some signs of redemption with the Avalanche.

On the contrary to what I mentioned earlier, this is not the first card to feature Drouin in a Habs jersey (17/18 UD Memorable Moments).

There's nothing too special to mention in regards to the photography used in the set - much like O-Pee-Chee, the visuals spanning the entire base set is pretty standard.

Fans also get their first peek of the Vegas Golden Knights in action on cardboard through the Parkhurst set.

From the first and second blasters I was able to accumulate the better part of the base set, pulling card after card that I needed towards the checklist. I whipped through both blasters without unearthing a single double.

The third blaster on the other hand, well, I may have pulled a card or two that I needed in every 3-4 packs. It was brutal! I knew it would be bad but I didn't think it would be that bad considering I still needed about 70 cards.

In the end, after burning through 360 cards over the course of three blasters - I still need 57 cards out of the 252 card standard base set.

Out of the three blasters I pulled the majority of the Rookies featured in the set. The boxes were quite liberal in terms of the amount of Rookies distributed throughout. Despite that, I'm still looking to fill 12 empty spots in the prospect category.

The 10-card 'Blow The Horn' insert set is definitely my favorite from the product to chase; focusing on 10 of the biggest current names in the league and the excitement generated from putting the biscuit in the basket. I get a late-90s vibe from them, I like that.

I pulled a total of 6 amongst my blasters including a double of #BH-3 Patrick Kane.

Parkhurst International is a 24-card insert set broken up into several countries featuring three representatives per flag. Two current players and a retired star seems to be the chosen trend.

East vs. West takes a conference approach, highlighting eight players from each side.

The rookie class is exhibited through the 25-card Prominent Prospects insert set. Parallel versions include Green (#/399 - Blaster only), Red (#/199 - Gravity only), and Gold (#/99 - Blaster only). The limited Blue Autograph version applies signatures for 19 names in the line. Unfortunately you won't find any ink from top prospects Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick though as they are both signed to exclusive deals with Leaf.

The Nikita Scherbak, shown above, is a Green parallel #/399 - I'm hoping that maybe I can flip it and purchase something I can put towards this undertaking. Aside from the Scherbak parallel, I also pulled regular versions of Jon Gillies, Filip Chytil and Will Butcher.

For the $20CDN price tag, you can't argue with it. It's fun, affordable and there's an opportunity to pull some good value cards given the inclusion of autos from a decent rookie class. In general it's a nice set to build with the realistic possibility to complete the insert sets as well.

I now have a ton of doubles to trade so I'm looking to wheel and deal to further complete the set. Anyone else building Parkhurst?

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