There are few trading card products today that generate a second series outside of the rare flagship brand, but the idea was certainly popular in the hobby for decades. Having a set released through small installments kept kids interested for the next one. In the case of Ken Reid’s hit 2014 book Hockey Card Stories, the sequel, dubbed Hockey Card Stories 2, is now on store shelves and it was definitely worth the wait.
For those not familiar with the original book, it was an enjoyable read from the popular Canadian sportscaster who not only waxed nostalgic about some of the most weird and wonderful hockey cards of his youth, but also spoke to the players depicted on the front of them. For hockey card nerds, it was pure joy hearing about the minutia of these pieces of cardboard and the book sold quite well north of the border.
Worth the Wait
Four years later, Hockey Card Stories 2 proves to be the perfect companion piece as Reid tells 59 more tales. Instead of just focusing on the classic O-Pee-Chee years extensively, we get more of a mix that includes classics from the boom years. The tales told are usually entertaining and informative, even to the most jaded of collectors.
The book breaks down into several themed sections and since the early 1990s get a lot of love, there is plenty of discussion about some of the craziest posed shots from the era. Following that are some great cards where the players do their best to look tough or are celebrating goals. One particularly enjoyable mystery solved is why the 1991-92 Smokey’s Ultimate Draft Picks card of Kerry Toporowski is so infamously awkward – the story is astounding and is handled with plenty of humor.
As we roll along, there are some great chats with players like Mark Napier about an odd helmet and Wilf Paiement discussing why he was wearing number 99 on his 1981-82 O-Pee-Chee card. Some iconic cards from the 1970s get some attention and the dreaded airbrush gets some criticism from players whose cards would have been a lot better without it.
Rookie Card Discussion
Some players talked with Reid at length about their rookie cards for Hockey Card Stories 2 and the best of that bunch by far is from former New Jersey Devils player Claude Vilgrain. Some notable errors get some play, too, as we find out why Don Nachbaur was wearing a wire cage on his mask on his only card.
The much-loved 1995-96 Pinnacle card of Olaf Kolzig holding a hot dog with his name written in mustard is still talked about fondly today, but Reid managed to find out how the retired goaltender actually feels about it. Several Hall of Famers talk about their cards, too, and even Wayne Gretzky offers up some thoughts on his iconic rookie card.
It is also important to give credit to Reid for choosing two solid figures to write forewords. While Sidney Crosby did an excellent job on his, those in the hobby will be happy to ready the one prepared by Upper Deck’s Chris Carlin.
Heading toward the holiday season, Hockey Card Stories 2 is a must-have for those that collect now or were card junkies during the boom years. Reid tells some entertaining tales and seems to have put a lot of consideration into the cards that were selected for the book. Those who attend the Fall 2018 Sportcard & Memorabilia Expo in Toronto will be able to get Reid to sign a copy in person.