Hockey collectors have one week left to hit the Tim Hortons drive-thru to get what has quickly become one of the hottest non-trading card hockey collectibles of the year.
The 2020-21 NHL Superstar Collectable Sticks series features six players – five from Canadian teams and one Canadian star from the Boston Bruins. The mini sticks are 5 1/2 inches tall and are displayed in a personalized locker box featuring either Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Shea Weber of the Montreal Canadiens, Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets, Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks, Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers, or Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins.
The mini sticks and lockers went on sale May 19 and are still available at Tim Hortons restaurants in Canada until June 25. They are available for $5.99 each in stores and, of course, are selling on eBay.
The mini sticks program is riding the coat tails of a successful program that ran in August and September of last year, also during the playoffs. That six-player set had more star power, as it included Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens, Mitch Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche. Crosby and MacKinnon, who are both from the town of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, have appeared together on Tim Hortons commercials over the past few years to promote Tim Hortons Upper Deck hockey cards.
The six-player set of lockers and sticks from the first year are already selling in the $150 range on both eBay and in hobby shops. The fact that the sticks and lockers were only available in Canada has driven demand for both American and European collectors.
Randomly Inserted Golden Sticks
This year’s set of lockers contain randomly inserted Golden Sticks and a prize ticket that can be redeemed for a framed, autographed jersey of that player. There are 42 framed and signed jerseys.
All valid prize claims must be received by June 30, 2021 at www.TimsGoldenStick.com.
Tim Hortons has released the number of sticks and lockers produced for each player that are available in their quick service restaurants. They produced a total of 1,112,664 lockers and mini sticks for in-store and drive-thru purchase. The numbers produced are Auston Matthews (252,384), Shea Weber (202,488), Connor Hellebuyck (173,952), Patrice Bergeron (184,848), Elias Pettersson (147,744), and Leon Draisaitl (151,248).
Complements Tim’s Upper Deck Program
The hockey card set has been a staple for the NHL and NHLPA quick service restaurant partner. For years, that was McDonald’s. Upper Deck produced the first McDonald’s hockey card set, and then the set went through Pinnacle, Pacific, and back to McDonald’s. Not only has the annual hockey card program been a revenue generator – the McDonald’s card sets had five million packs produced in some years – but it has played a crucial role in introducing mainstream hockey fans, young hockey players and families in Canada to hockey card collecting.
With the combination of the growth in the hobby, the buzz around the return of the NHL after the league shut down last March, and the fact that the NHL and NHLPA granted Tim Hortons permission to include redemption cards for first overall NHL Draft pick Alex Lafreniere, the 2020-21 Tim Hortons card set and collector’s album were the most anticipated hockey promotional card set produced in years.
Adding a playoff collectible was a no-brainer for Tim Hortons. The first non-card collectible was a set of plastic cups featuring artwork of NHL mascots. While young hockey fans liked the cups, they gained no traction in the hobby. Simply put, collectors are driven by players and stars. While Crosby, MacKinnon and McDavid drive hockey sales, Youppi, Harvey, Fin and Spartacat do not.
The mini sticks, however, hit the perfect combination of a low-priced novelty item of a small mini-stick inside a locker that was personalized for each player. Suddenly, the collectors of Crosby, Ovechkin, Price et al had a reason to go back for another double-double in the drive thru. The secondary market value was driven by star power. The timing of the product’s release was perfect. The 2019-20 Tim Hortons mini-sticks set may become one of the most memorable hockey collectible products over the next decade.
Tim Horton’s UD Cards Only Four Months Away
When the current Tim Hortons promotion comes to an end, we will only be about four months from the 2021-22 Upper Deck hockey card set and collector’s album. While there seems to be no anticipated franchise superstar in this year’s draft, there are players like Cole Caufield of the Montreal Canadiens who made their NHL debuts late in the year to help drive the product. And the set will always have some sort of presence of Wayne Gretzky in it. Gretzky, an Upper Deck spokesman, is not only driving the market with the cards from his playing days, but his newly released cards, such as the cards in the Tim Hortons card set, are still highly coveted among hockey card collectors.
As for the collectible mini-sticks and lockers, there are certainly enough superstars to drive sales in Canada. With the NHL having a wide-open schedule, and the likelihood of NHL participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics, there is a good chance for stars to emerge. A mix of veteran and young superstars for the program could include John Tavares of the Leafs, Tim Steutzle of the Ottawa Senators, Karill Kaprizov of the Minnesota Wild, Nikita Kucherov or Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights, Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, and dozens of other stars to choose from. In other words, there is no shortage of star power even though some of the elite superstars have been used.
The excitement of having a Canadian team in the NHL semi-finals is helping to drive the hobby in Canada. It was automatic that the winner of the North Division would be among the final four teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Regardless, the excitement for hockey collectibles in Canada now makes it feel like 1993, when the Canadiens beat Gretzky’s Kings for the Cup, and the Toronto Maple Leafs took a deep run into the playoffs.
If only there was a Gretzky mini stick and locker.