The anticipation rises as you begin to (carefully) tear open the new pack of hockey trading cards you just purchased. You slide the cards out of their wrapper, backs facing you so you can’t see the first card, and you begin to flip them over one at a time, laying them onto the table in front of you.
You may not have opened this many cards, but the experiences you had were likely similar.
You’re first few pulls aren’t great. You didn’t even get players from the teams you like. As you pull a few more average cards, you begin to think this pack was a waste, but then on the second to last card, your jaw drops. Your favorite player’s autographed card. You’ve never even seen one of these in person and can’t wait to show it off. You flip the last card to find yet another great pull! This time it’s a rookie card for a player you just know is going to blow up this year.
But that all happened years ago. As time went on, you stopped collecting hockey cards. Maybe you were just too busy, or didn’t have the cash, but for whatever reason, you boxed up your collection and set it in storage, until now.
The other day you came across (or deliberately pulled out) your old collection and became filled with nostalgia. Now you want back in and are ready to start collecting hockey trading cards again. Well, the hobby has changed a lot, and for better or worse a lot has changed. If you’re just returning now, there are a few things you need to know first:
The days of dollar packs are behind us now, and you may be seeing that some boxes have started reaching prices of hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. It may seem like the entire hobby is just too expensive now, but you’d be missing out if you thought that!
A lot of the top boxes get extra publicity which can make it seem like an expensive hobby, but it's important to note that you’ll find plenty of boxes under the $100 mark.
Much of the reason that prices have crept up is because the scarcity and quality of cards being offered has increased. Some boxes are limited runs with only a couple hundred being sold and many now guarantee rookie cards, game jersey cards, and autographed cards in each box.
There’s been a lot of hype about the prices of rare sports cards, but the truth is that due to an extremely large supply of cards in recent decades, many collections just aren’t worth that much. This is especially true of 80’s and 90’s cards.
It’s often better to just keep your old collection and the memories it contains.
The hobby has really increased in variety during recent years. Collectors now have a choice between different teams, different players, different eras, and more. You could even collect all of a certain card type (such as game jersey cards). With this increase in variety comes a dilemma though, you simply can’t collect them all!
That’s why we advise many collectors to find a niche and stick to it. Finding your niche will take your collection from a loosely related group of okay cards to a highly related selection of cards that all mesh together. Besides, even in these niches there are plenty of opportunities! You could, for example, collect all the Young Guns rookie cards, or only find game jersey cards. Maybe you want to collect the cards of a specific team or player.
By finding your niche, you’ll be able to find the products that’ll give you the best chances at those cards and spend you money on packs that’ll be more fulfilling and provide more enjoyment.
You may be tempted to rush back into the hobby, but it’s best to take your time, read up on a few blogs, get in touch with some members of the community before you purchase your next pack. A lot has changed and even checklists may seem entirely foreign to you.
Because you’re here, you’ve likely already taken the time to do some of your research, which is great! We’ve even got a few cards and packs to look out for this year so that you can get back into things and know what’s out there.
One major change to occur to the hobby is the smaller list of companies which produce cards. Through acquisitions, mergers and bankruptcies, we’ve gotten to a point where there are only a handful of manufacturers each with their own exclusive deal. Upper Deck is now the only manufacturer for NHL cards, (though you can find packs released by other Upper Deck sub-brands such as black diamond and o-pee-chee.
With all the changes we mentioned above, you may wonder whether the hobby is the same or if it’ll still be as exciting as it once was. You’ll be glad to hear that it’s just as exciting if not more so. The card shows have only gotten bigger, the community has grown more connected than ever before, and the ability to find great deals online makes finding your favorite cards easier than ever before.
Plus, the anticipation and excitement that comes from tearing open a new pack of cards never gets old.
Here are a few of the players that have collectors excited in 2017. Many of them have multiple cards printed including some with memorabilia in the card.
Remember to first and foremost enjoy the hobby. When you’re getting back in, it’s easy to forget why you collected cards when you were younger in the first place, but if you can hold onto that enjoyment you’ll have just as much fun if not more the second time around.
P.S. We're running a promotion for 15% off all hockey trading card purchases. Check it out!