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No Hockey, No Problem: Collectors’ Tips for Surviving the NHL Lockout

by Rob Bertrand (12/11/12).

For hockey fans who are also collectors, this frustration of the current NHL lockout is compounded by the fact that it means a delay in new rookie cards from the 2012 Draft class. One solution to take advantage of the cards that are available, which as Upper Deck’s Series 1.

The current labor dispute between National Hockey League owners and the player’s union is frustrating for fans whose passion for the game is unrivaled. On Dec. 11, it was announced that all games through the rest of 2012 have been officially canceled.

For collectors, this frustration is further compounded by the fact that it means a delay in new rookie cards from the 2012 Draft class. However, there are still plenty of opportunities for hockey collectors as they wait for icy relationship between league parties to thaw.

There are currently two trading card manufacturers licensed to produce official NHL trading cards; Panini America and The Upper Deck Company. Each company has already released several 2012-13 products. Yet, because of the current lockout, the only rookie cards contained on the checklists of these products are late season call-up from 2011-12 campaign. The following is a breakdown by manufacturer of products currently available including price point and type of collector served:

Panini

Brand: Score
Price Range: $25
Demographic(s): Entry-level product for the budget-conscience collector, set collectors, low-end rookie collectors.

Brand: Certified
Price Range: $100
Demographic(s): Mid-range product for the memorabilia and autograph collector, rookie card collectors.

Brand: Panini Hockey Stickers
Price Range: $35
Demographic(s): Low-end product for set collectors and kids.

Upper Deck

Brand: Artifacts
Price Range: $95
Demographic(s): Mid-range product for memorabilia collectors, mid-range rookie card collectors and smaller set builders.

Brand: O-Pee-Chee
Price Range: $50
Demographic(s): Mid-range product for entry level collectors, set-builders and budge-minded rookie card collectors

Brand: Upper Deck Series 1
Price Range: $65
Demographic(s): A hobby staple for hockey collectors. Delivers key rookie cards, low-end memorabilia, and the chance at autographs. Ideal for collectors wishing to build a set of the game’s top players

A third company, In the Game out of Canada, produces some of the best themed hockey products on the market. Despite not having an NHL license, it hasn’t prohibited the company from competing in the hockey collectibles marketplace. Its intimate knowledge of the game, the history and the players has allowed them to manufacture products which cater to a specific niche. Some of these include Forever Rivals,—dedicated the Original Six rivalry between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens—and Superlative, which showcase some of the games legendary, Hall of Fame players with unique memorabilia and autograph combinations. Both of these products are currently available for collectors.

Score from Panini America offers entry-level product for the budget-conscience collector, set collectors, low-end rookie collectors.

Certified from Panini America offers mid-range product for the memorabilia and autograph collector, rookie card collectors.

Artifacts from the Upper Deck Company offers mid-range product for memorabilia collectors, mid-range rookie card collectors and smaller set builders.

The 2005-06 season was a stellar year for fans and collectors as top NHL stars Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin broke onto the scene. An abbreviated lockout prior to that season gave rise to challenges similar to those that this year’s collectors face. Many choose to go back to previous year’s product and complete those unfinished sets or purchase products that didn’t quite make previous their prior wish list cuts. Some even found a renewed interest and appreciation for the game’s history that spawned vintage collections.

So, despite the fact that you can’t watch your favorite game on TV, don’t lose hope as a collector. As you can see, there are still plenty of products and ways to exercise and pursue your hockey passion.

Rob Bertrand has been an active collector of sports cards and memorabilia for more than 20 years. His involvement in the hobby community is well documented, having been the content manager for the Card Corner Club website before the company’s merger with CardboardConnection in 2011, where he is now a staff writer and multimedia content producer. Rob is also the co-host of the sports collectibles hobby’s only live and nationally broadcast radio show, Cardboard Connection Radio. He is the author of the highly respected and trafficked blog, Voice of the Collector and you can follow him on Twitter @VOTC. A dealer himself, Rob runs an online business through eBay, and is frequently asked to consign collections.

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