One of the hobby’s longest-running shows returns later this spring when Toronto welcomes collectors from North America and even Europe. And if you’re into hockey, this is one event that doesn’t usually disappoint.
The 32nd edition of the world’s biggest, best, and longest running hockey card and memorabilia show will once again take place at the Toronto International Centre on May 4-6, 2007. The Toronto Sportcard and Memorabilia Expo offers over 400 booths, 800 tables, 250 dealers, and 100,000 square feet of rare collectibles from the world of hockey, football, baseball, basketball and non-sports.
“I’ve been promoting this show for a long time now,” says Al Sinclair, President of the Expo. “Its success over the years is the result of a lot of hard work, but it is also a testament to the loyalty of a large group of dealers and collectors who set two weekends per year aside to make this a can’t-miss event.”
Once again, one of the highlights of the Expo is the lineup of autograph guests. For the third consecutive show, the responsibility for handling the autograph lineup has been assigned to A.J. Sports World, the well-known sports collectibles firm based in Woodbridge, Ontario.
The roster for the upcoming show includes no fewer than eight Hall of Famers and a group of hockey stars – namely the “Broad Street Bullies” – that still send shudders down the spines of fans some 30 years after their heyday.
On Friday, attendees can obtain an autograph from legendary Boston Bruin coach and general manager Harry Sinden (5 pm, $30 per item). Sinden also coached Team Canada to a memorable triumph in the 1972 Summit Series versus the Soviet Union. Also appearing Friday is baseball great Bob Feller (time to be announced, $30 per item). Known as “Rapid Robert,” Feller generated fear in opposing batters’ hearts with a filthy fastball that helped him win 266 career games over an 18-year career with the Cleveland Indians in the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s.
Saturday’s autograph guests include two linchpins from the Edmonton Oilers’ dynasty in the 1980s: defenseman Paul Coffey ($35 per item, $45 per bulky item, time to be announced); and goaltender Grant Fuhr ($30 per item, $40 per bulky item, time to be announced). This dynamic duo hoisted nine Stanley Cups between them. Also slated to appear is the great Boston Bruin defenseman, Raymond Bourque (prices and times to be announced).
No NHL team represented rough-and-tumble hockey better than the Philadelphia Flyers of the mid-1970s. NHL scribes at the time paid tribute to the club, which played their home games at The Spectrum located on Broad Street in Philadelphia, by labeling them “The Broad Street Bullies”. The Flyers utilized a combination of talent and intimidation to claim back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975. Twelve members of those teams are scheduled to appear on Sunday headed by Hall of Famers Bobby Clarke, Bernie Parent, and Bill Barber. Other Flyer greats at the show include Dave Schultz, Gary Dornhoefer, Reggie Leach, Rick MacLeish, Bob Kelly, Orest Kindrachuk, Ed Van Impe, and brothers Joe and Jim Watson.
Prices for the Flyers are as follows: Clarke – $49 per item, $65 per bulky item; Parent – $25 per item; Barber – $25 per item; Schultz – $20 per item; all others – $15 per item per player; 12-player Super Ticket – $219 per item, $239 per bulky item. Appearance times will be announced.
“This is an exciting lineup for us,” explains Andrew Goldfarb of A.J. Sports World. “Hockey fans shouldn’t miss Bobby Clarke. This will be his first public signing in Canada. He was one of the first superstars from an expansion team and a key part of Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series.
“In fact, I like the whole lineup we have assembled because there is something for everyone.”
Tickets for Friday’s autograph guests will be available Friday afternoon in the autograph area of the corporate section. Tickets for Saturday’s guests will be available as of 10 am on Saturday, while tickets for Sunday’s guests will go on sale at 10 am on Sunday. All autograph tickets are limited in quantity, and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“This continues to be a win-win situation,” explains Sinclair. “A.J. Sports World has a larger network for autographed items and that works to their advantage. We have the world’s best hockey memorabilia show, and there is no reason why we can’t have the world’s best lineup of hockey autograph guests. This will spur more interest from the general public and that translates into more interest in the show.”
In addition to the stellar autograph lineup, those in attendance are encouraged to visit the corporate section of the show.
The Toronto Sportscard & Memorabilia Expo is a haven for collectors of all sports memorabilia, but it is no secret that the emphasis at this twice-annual event is certainly on hockey. No other sports collectibles show in the world offers the astounding selection of hockey collectibles as does the Expo. With the the high-profile success of youngsters Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Evgeni Malkin helping drive the market, the level of enthusiasm for hockey collectibles continues to be high.
As usual, the Expo will host avid sports card and memorabilia collectors from across Canada, the United States and Europe. Everyone has the opportunity to interact with the most prominent hobbyists in the hockey world.
Admission prices are $12 per day for adults and $3 per day for children aged six to 12. Children under six are admitted free. A weekend pass for adults is $25. The show hours are 1 pm to 10 pm on Friday, and 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
The Toronto Sportcard and Memorabilia Expo has taken place twice annually since 1991.
A very limited number of booths remain available. For more information, phone (705) 722-7593 or visit the web site at www.sportcardexpo.com.