Trading card collectors in the United States swear by the annual National Sports Collectors Convention and everything it has to offer. Those of us that love cards and live North of the border have something special of our own in the Sportcard & Memorabilia Expo that is our own paradise, especially for hockey collectors. This time, it aims to be bigger than ever with a rare appearance from the legendary Bobby Orr – a first for the show.
Taking place twice a year (typically in May and November), the Sportcard & Memorabilia Expo serves as the center of the hockey card universe for three days at a time. With hundreds of dealers in attendance, it’s a bucket list-level experience for fans of the fastest game on ice, although you’ll find other sports cards and collectibles in the room, too. The show (which many have simply dubbed “The Expo”) changed ownership a little over a year ago and promoter Steve Menzie has made several changes in hopes of creating a family-friendly experience.
Held at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, this year’s event runs from May 4-6, with prominent sellers that specialize in vintage cards, modern cards, autographs, and memorabilia. Long-time attendees also swear by the booth that sells… meat products – a protein fix that will help you get through the day. The show floor is about 100,000 square feet so allotting at least a full day is recommended.
Frameworth Autograph Pavilion
Collectors and fans attending the Expo will often gravitate toward the Frameworth Autograph Pavilion. This time, Brian Ehrenworth and his team have managed to secure some of the greatest guests in the show’s extensive history (which dates back to the 1991-92 season).
The big draw for hockey collectors here is a rare public appearance from Orr, but there are some other big names as well in Joe Montana and Cal Ripken, Jr. The iconic Trio Grande Line of New York Islanders Stanley Cup champions Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, and Clark Gillies returns along with two of hockey’s toughest talents in Ted Lindsay and Dave “The Hammer” Schultz.
The Expo has started to prominently feature more guests from outside of the hockey world in recent years as Jack Morris and Dave Winfield, two former Toronto Blue Jays from the championship era, are coming with former Montreal Expos great (and fellow Hall of Famer) Tim Raines.
Speaking of Montreal, Frameworth is bringing in six retired stars that all helped take the Canadiens to multiple Stanley Cup titles. Yvan Cournoyer and Jacques Lemaire and both members of the Hockey Hall of Fame while Guy Carbonneau, Pierre Mondou, Yvon Lambert, and Mario Tremblay all made a serious impact during their respective careers.
Finally, former Boston Bruins scoring machines “Nifty” Rick Middleton and Johnny Bucyk round out the autograph lineup. With almost two months left to go before the event, the roster as per the Frameworth website is as follows:
Friday, May 4
Cal Ripken, Jr.
Sunday, May 6
A basic Orr autograph can be purchased in advance for $200 while the price to get his rookie card from the 1966-67 Topps signed is a whopping $850 (CDN). There will also be a VIP experience with Orr that can be purchased and pricing and details should be revealed soon. It should also be noted that Orr will not be providing personalization or inscriptions.
Collectors looking to obtain ink from the Montreal Canadiens legends appearing on the Sunday of the Expo can choose to purchase a group package to save some money. It is advisable to purchase autograph tickets from Frameworth in advance in order to avoid disappointment and get their autographs at a lower rate.
As we get closer to the show, it is expected that any manufacturers in attendance will make announcements regarding any redemption programs. For those that have not attended previously, Upper Deck normally holds a large-scale program at its booth which includes special packs or show-exclusive cards. Leaf Trading Cards normally releases a product in time for the Expo as well. President’s Choice Trading Cards will often sell its low-run cards directly at the show.
Advanced tickets are available on the show’s website. is $12 on Friday; $15 on Saturday and Sunday with a weekend pass available for $30. Kids under 12 get in free with an adult. VIP packages, with special bonuses to be announced, are $75.