The Winnipeg Jets were an NHL team based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They played in both the WHA and the NHL from 1972 to 1996. Unfortunately, due to mounting financial troubles, a weak Canadian dollar, and little support from the NHL Board of Governors, in 1996 the franchise moved to Arizona and became the Phoenix Coyotes. Shane Doan, the current captain of the Coyotes, is the last Jet to remain with the Winnipeg-Phoenix franchise.
The Jets early history in the WHA was peppered was success and championships however that never translated to the NHL. Poor early seasons in the NHL allowed them to draft Thomas Steen and future Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk. Those two players made the franchise respectable but playing in the same division as the power-house Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers of the 1980 & 1990’s meant that glory wasn’t meant to be.
Despite the lack of major success, collectors loved the Jets and they loved the players. None more than Dale Hawerchuk. Hawerchuk put up amazing offensive numbers and was a man with class. Collectors were hooked and continued to gather cards and memorabilia long after Hawerchuk moved on and the Jets relocated.
Fast forward to May 2011. True North Sports and Entertainment, a company backed by billionaire David Thomson, has been rumoured to be very close to finalizing a deal to purchase the Atlanta Thrashers with the intention of moving the team to Winnipeg. If the Jets return, a whole new market will open as Winnipeg collectors return in large amounts. Atlanta was never able to do much for the hobby… whether they were the Atlanta Flames, the Atlanta Thrashers, and even when they sported a roster containing Ilya Kovalchuk and Dany Heatley. They never had the ravenous desire of Jets fans.
People love the Jets. It can’t be denied. They will always root for the under-dog.
And new collectables, hopefully with the Jets name returning with the team, will be a great boost to the hobby.
Have you busted your 2011 Bowman Baseball hobby box yet? For years now, Bowman is the baseball product in the early season. Last year it was Stephen Strasburg, this year it’s Bryce Harper. More often than not, it’s where players get their first legitimate big league card.
Like so many other diehard Minnesota sports fans, St. James man Steve Jeppson was hurt by the passing of Twins icon Harmon Killebrew last week. Uncontentestedly the best and most popular figure in the early years of Minnesota professional sports, “Killer” was an idol for so many fans in the state, Steve included.
This week Steve shared a collection of cards and memorabilia that honor his favorite player. A self-proclaimed “card collecting geek,” Steve says he owns about 100 Killebrew cards. On display in the photo you see to the right are 46 of those cards, an autographed Killebrew baseball, and Steve sitting with — you guessed it — a Killebrew jersey on. It is an impressive collection to say the least.
Steve says he bought the baseball and case from a famous card shop in Las Vegas while at a convention for work. The sticker price was more than he was willing to pay. The shop owner asked him to pick a number from 1-to-20. Steve picked 20.
“‘Alright’, the owner said, ‘I’ll give you 20% off,’” recalls Steve.
Steve also has an autographed baseball card. Neither the card nor the ball were personally signed; Steve never had the pleasure of meeting Harmon Killebrew. But considering the cards, and the jersey, and the ball, it’s almost like he knew him personally.
“He was my favorite baseball player,” says Steve. “I was even able to see his funeral since it was during one of my coronary rehab sessions.” (Steve had a mild heart attack earlier this year.)
Steve’s been collecting cards his whole life but online marketplaces like ebay have enabled him to seek specific players and cards today. Included in the Killebrew collection, for example, are several cards with actual pieces of Harmon’s game-worn jersey displayed in the card.
Steve’s Killebrew collection tells the story of a career as well as the history of baseball cards. There is a 1961 card cutout from a brand of Post cereal. There is the 1955 rookie card, with Harmon’s famously pristine, flowing, legible signiture stamped on. Then there are the Twins years, including the 1969 MVP season, arguably Killebrew’s greatest. (Absent from the collection was any card from the 1975 Kansas City season.)
Steve Jeppson’s collection shows that although Killer is gone, he is not forgotten. And whether you’re a casual fan or a card collecting geek, you’ve got to appreciate the passion in this collection and the career it illuminates in Harmon Killebrew.
The upcoming Complete Star Trek: The Next Generation Series 1 trading cards will feature “Bridge Crew Communicator Badge Cards.”
These pins will be limited to 300 each and will be inserted at a rate of approximately 1 or 2 per case. Five of the Communicator Pin cards will be issued in Series 1 in 2011 and five more will be issued in Series 2 in 2012.
Panini has begun releasing the short-prints for the recently released 2010-11 Playoff Contenders. To no surprise, Taylor Hall’s Rookie Ticket is on the short-list but not many were expecting Jeff Penner of the Boston Bruins to be one of the hard-to-find cards for collectors.
Decades – The ’80s from In The Game is about a few week away. For those who grew up watching the fire-wagon hockey on the 1980’s, this product is a dream. With hard-signed autographs from the greats of the 1980s including the entire 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team – the Miracle on Ice Team, this product is nothing but ‘hits.’
“I was thrilled when the last player, Mark Wells, agreed to sign for us” said ITG President Dr. Brian H. Price “as a collector at heart, it bothered me to put out a product with 19 of the 20 team members. When we finally tracked down Mark and he agreed, well, it was like finishing my own set. We are going to be doing some work with Mark in the future and he will be appearing in our booth at The National.”
All checklists are now live at the ITG website. Check them out to see if your favourite made the list.
ITG’s Decades – The 80’s has a new release date of June 3rd, 2011 and is available for pre-order at Canada Card World.