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Thursday, September 1, 2011

the DAWN of the ROOKIE Card

The "DAWN" of the ROOKIE Card

The "Dawn" of the ROOKIE card was upon us. It was 1988, Wayne Gretzky was just traded to the Los Angeles Kings and hockey was to be changed forever.The landscape of hockey had taken a different turn from what was previously seen as a lesser of the main sports in regards to dollar figures. With the new contract signed by Gretzky, salaries were about to escalate, so too were the value of cards, especially ROOKIE cards in hockey. There was no Internet to locate prices so off to the local market you would go, praying to find hockey card books stating the value of cards.

Trading cards and tossing them in the school yards were a thing of the past. It was different now, no longer was there a stick of gum in the package instead there were several companies jumping on board with the sales of hockey cards. In fact it was at this time, I set up shop with my corner table at flea markets and in second hand stores with my personal collection of ROOKIE cards that I purchased from friends, or bought at flea markets. My list of ROOKIE cards included some quality players...Paul Coffey , Mario Lemeiux , Pelle LindbergRay Bourque , Theo Fleury ,
Mike Modano, Steve Yzerman , Eric Lindros , Peter Forsberg and many other notables.

Because the value of ROOKIE cards were at a all-time high, it was then that I decided it was time to start following these young prospects before they were drafted. If anything I was looking for the potential of future players , to guess what card could make me some money down the road. The first player I began to follow?  Eric Lindros, the possible
Next One?

As I began to follow his Jr career, I also came to notice in that years prospects game, another offensive player named Yanic Perreault. Both of there cards were a 'have to have' for me. Little did I know that Yanic would really only amount to being a face-off specialist and Eric would later have his career cut short by concussions. I purchased several of Eric Lindros' ROOKIE cards, but at the early starting point of his career , it was not decisive which card was his true rookie card. I collected all of them, just in case. I even put one away for my oldest daughter in hopes he truly would become the NEXT ONE!

I started to purchase other rookie cards in hopes of the value going up, but found this to be a highly expensive venture. Something happened during this point of time though...My excitement for the game of hockey was not only about following my favourite player and or team, but my love and passion for the game of hockey grew as well. It took me past playing street hockey to playing Ball Hockey in Edmonton's old "Capital City Ball Hockey Association" right through to local "Beer League" hockey on ice.


Life had changed not only in the hockey world of professionals, but also in my own life. With hockey at its highest peak, it took me to following the world of Jr Hockey. It was not only with the World Jr's but also the CHL. Hockey in the NHL basically started taking a new look. It was the time where clutching and grabbing was common site, games were becoming even lower scoring and my interest for hockey was fading. On top of all this, hockey ROOKIE cards were becoming extremely expensive to collect. With expenses of playing hockey and watching hockey a higher priority, I sold off all my rookie cards except the one Eric Lindros Card, which I had  given to my daughter.

While following the CHL, there was a young player who really was catching my eye. I was hearing rave reviews of him and started trying to find as much information as I could muster up. While my interest was fading in the NHL it was just beginning to gear up for Jr hockey. All I was hearing was how this young prospect was scoring at will, and in timely fashion in most games. It was 2002 and the mainstream media was beginning to report of comments from the "Great One" Wayne Gretzky , of a recent prospect who Wayne was saying "could be the one to break some of his NHL records"....who was this future Star?

(to be continued)

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