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Here We Go Again – The NHL Officially Locks Out Its Players

September 16, 2012

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Time sure flies, doesn’t it?

It seems like just yesterday that hockey fans and collectors were sitting through the worst case scenario: a cancelled NHL season.

And yet here we are once again; millionaires and billionaires fighting over who gets to keep the bigger piece of the pie, resulting in the third NHL lockout we’ve witnessed since the 1994-95 season.

What this means for the hockey card and memorabilia hobby remains to be seen.  It’s obviously far too early in the process to know for certain what sort of impact this lockout will have on manufacturers, but if the last lockout was any indication, it may not end well.

The 2004-05 lockout killed off one manufacturer, saw the NHL push a second to the sidelines, and left us with five full years of nothing but Upper Deck releases to whet our appetites with when it came to fully licensed hockey card products.

I actually wrote my undergraduate thesis about the impacts of that lockout on the hockey card industry, which was easily one of the most insightful experiences I have ever had in this hobby.

From what I recall about my research into the effects of the 2004-05 lockout, Pacific was remarkably unprepared for anything beyond a minor labour disruption.  There was no back-up plan in place to keep things afloat and the company paid the ultimate price not long after the lockout began to drag itself out.

This time around it would appear that companies manufacturing hockey cards are in a much better position to ride things out.

Panini has football and basketball products to fall back on.

In the Game has done an amazing job of developing niche hockey products with limited licenses and I see no reason for another lockout to impact their ability to continue doing exactly what they’ve been doing since the last one.

And Upper Deck, despite its seemingly never-ending list of legal issues, still has its entertainment wing to go along with an array of sports offerings it has developed in the absence major league licenses.

Panini and Upper Deck have yet to issue any sort of commentary on what a lockout will mean for their 2012-13 NHL hockey offerings, but this article from Susan Lulgjuraj of Beckett sums up some of the potential issues nicely.

One can only hope that the NHL and NHLPA sort out their issues sooner rather than later.  But as recent history has already shown us, we really shouldn’t be surprised by anything.


What are your feelings on the lockout?  Are you with the players, the owners, or do you simply not care at this point?  Will you continue collecting during and/or after both sides have arrived at a resolution?  Or are you throwing in the towel and taking your collecting dollars elsewhere?

Share your thoughts by posting a comment, emailing me at, or by getting in touch on Facebook and Twitter.

Until Wednesday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!


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Image courtesy of: Legion of Blog


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