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Sean Leahy

Card Bored: Did my nickel 'Rocket' Richard destroy the industry?

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

"Card Bored" is a regular feature that chronicles Sean Leahy's adventures in the nostalgic joys and unintentional hilarity of the hockey card industry. NOTE: Our next gallery in the Create-a-Card competition publishes later this afternoon.

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Remember the "drunk guy" I wrote about in a previous "'Card Bored"? Well, he went away after a while. I’m still not sure if he moved, stopped answering his door or moved on to that big shot glass in the sky. Once he went "away," there were limited options for buying cards in the area. The two nearest card shops were a bike trek away.

Then Komic Kingdom opened right up the block from my house. And yes, I give them a minus-1 for trying to be cutesy with the name.

For a young kid whose sole income came from cashing in on bottle and cans at the local supermarket, having a card shop within walking distance was bad news. Every Saturday afternoon was spent with other local kids inside Komic Kingdom throwing quarters away in the NBA Jam machine and sorting through the commons box to fill soon-to-be completed sets.

A few summers after the place opened, I was thumbing through the commons. I came upon a Pat Elynuik and Kip Miller, which wound up finishing off my 1993-94 Upper Deck set. Little did I know that my 10-cent contribution would turn much more valuable.

You see, I went home that day and put those two cards within my little box holding the set and tucked it away. Once school had begun that fall, trips to the card shop were less frequent. One weekend, I decided to thumb through my sets and I came across the Elynuik card, which felt extra thick (that’s what she said). I pulled it out flipped it over (again, what she said) and was shocked to find a Maurice Richard autographed card on the other side.

Turns out, it was a limited edition 1992-93 Scored Stanley Cup Hero card of the "Rocket".

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The "Kingdom" was notorious for being warm and it wasn't uncommon for the ink on any signed cards they had on display to bleed or for the cards in packs to stick together. The Richard card was selling for a few hundred dollars (and still is apparently), so I decided to go to the shop one afternoon and let them know I had found the card mixed among their five-cent common cards for sale.

When I turned my bike into the parking lot I noticed the gate in front of the shop down and a small piece of paper with writing on it taped to one of the bars. The note was dated a month earlier and said, "Sorry, we’re closed for good. Lack of sales."

Could that Richard card have helped them stay afloat a little while longer? I guess I’ll never know, but the closing of Komic Kingdom was also the end of my card collecting days. By that time, packs of cards were getting more and more expensive and I was also getting tired of getting seven Dave Ellett’s in a couple packs.

On to this week’s cards.

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Joe Juneau 1994-95 Upper Deck "Be a Player"

There is a rumor that Juneau auditioned for Disney’s "Snow Dogs", but got beat out by that infamous puck bunny, Cuba Gooding, Jr. This subset was to show fans that, hey, hockey players are people, too, and remind us of all Juneau’s handsome looks.

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2000-01 Topps Stars Don Cherry game used suit

While game-eaten bacon hasn’t quite found its way into cards yet, Topps went out of the box from the run-of-the-mill used jersey swatch or square piece of a hockey stick with this one. The man known for his infamous suits and love of all things Europeans, Don Cherry must have been a bit saddened to see one of his outfits cut to pieces and inserted into trading cards, no matter how much money Topps gave him. There was a subset in this series that allowed you to collect enough of these cards and make your own crazy-looking get-up.

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1976-77 O-Pee-Chee Washington Capitals team leaders

This could be a great album cover for a band, much like the one for Faith +1. Pyatt and Meehan are the guys who keep it straights while not looking at the camera and the Labre and White are rocking out with their long hair and mustaches looking directly into your soul. If you’re thinking, "Wow, 26 goals led the Capitals back then?", realize this '75-76 was Washington's second season in the National Hockey League where they posted only 11 wins, an increase from 8 the season before.

Lest we forget, the Puck Daddy Create-a-Card contest is still open and again, original Photoshops and artwork creations only, and we'll publish as many entries many as we can. The Yahoo! Sports rules of profanity and PG-13 content apply. Deadline for submissions is Friday, February 13 at noon EDT. E-mail contest entries to puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com. Judges are Wyshynski, myself and a handle of Grey Goose. Enter as many times as you'd like and please, bring the funny.

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