by Rich Klein
There is little doubt hockey collectors are the most passionate of the four major sports. Although the sport is not nearly as popular as baseball, football and basketball in the U.S., there is little doubt that hockey cards have a tradition perhaps only behind baseball in length of time of major sets being produced. Another aspect is goalies are still incredibly popular. In that vein, In the Game (ITG) has produced their annual Between the Pipes set which features greats of the past as well as future NHL goalies. 2011-12 Between the Pipes marks the product’s 10th anniversary and the special logo is prominently featured on boxes, packs and cards.
The base set, which is 200 cards, is broken into these topical subsets: Future Stars (Minor Stars), Stars of the Game (NHL Goalies), Decades, Expansion Tandems (1967-68 season), Stars and Stripes (American Goalies). La Belle Province (Goalies born in Quebec). International Pioneers, and One Game Wonder. One advantage of this arrangement is basic sorting becomes very easy as the groupings are very easy to determine.
My local card store does not carry ITG products because, frankly, hockey is not really popular among Dallas collectors as a whole, but leading online retailers are currently pre-selling this product at $90-100. Boxes have 18 packs in them with nine cards per pack.
And how did we do from our box?
Base Cards: 138 of 200 or nearly 70% of the set (no duplicates)
He Shoots He Saves: 16 cards all worth one point each (These come in the form of nine-piece puzzles which can be assembled into a larger photo of some of hockey’s greatest netminders. Redemption points may also be redeemed for special Between The Pipes “He Shoots, He Saves” game-used memorabilia cards once you reach 200 points). Each will feature a swatch of game-worn memorabilia from the players listed on the checklist below. There will be 30 of these special Between the Pipes game-used memorabilia cards and each will be individually hand-numbered out of 20)
10th Anniversary: Johnny Bauer, Cam Ward
Masked Men: Ilya Bryzgalov, Grant Fuhr, Mikka Kiprusoff (Note that both Fuhr and Kiprusoff are die cut)
Game Used Jersey: John Vanbiesbrouck
Autographs: Leland Irving, Phil Myre
Patch and Autograph: Antti Niemi
As with almost all ITG products, the value received from a box is almost uniformly excellent and these boxes come at price points most collectors can afford.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]