Friday, July 27, 2018

Sports Card Tour 2018 - Winnipeg

After 53 posts covering over 120 pro sports teams in 51 North American cities over a five and half month span, The Collector's Sports Card Tour comes to a close with our last stop.

Today we're in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg is home to two pro sports teams - the Jets and the Blue Bombers (there must be an air force history there that I'm not aware of.)

Thanks to Doug (Dollar Store Cards) for the CFL cards

Bobby Hull sent shockwaves through the hockey world when he signed with the WHA's Winnipeg Jets in 1972. (I don't have any WHA-era Jets cards.) The move paid off for both parties.

Winnipeg was the strongest team in the rival league, reaching the Final in five of the WHA's seven seasons. The Jets won the Avco Trophy in 1976, 1978, and 1979. As a result, they were one of four franchises admitted into the NHL during the merger.

I don't have this card, either

In the NHL, Winnipeg made the playoffs in seven straight seasons but never advanced past the second round, losing to powerhouse teams in Edmonton and Calgary each year from 1983 to 1988.


Dale Hawerchuk was the first overall pick in the 1981 draft and the NHL's rookie of the year in 1982. Unfortunately his Hall of Fame career was overshadowed by playing at the same time as Wayne Gretzky. I only have one Hawerchuk card from the '80s (not counting my 1984-85 OPC set build) ...if I was still listing "Cards I'd Like To Own" at the end of these posts I'd consider adding his rookie card.


Thomas Steen continued the Jets' tradition of Swedish stars, following WHA greats Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg. The two-way centre played his entire career with the Jets; his number #25 was retired by the team. His son Alex plays for the St. Louis Blues.

I had to check the Trading Card Database to see if the '83-84 O-Pee-Che Steen single was his rookie card. It's not. Also, I only had five Steen cards so I added Laurie Boschman to fill the space. Winnipeg was strong up the middle with Hawerchuk, Steen, and Boschman in the mid '80s.

Hall of Fame sniper Teemu Selanne was the Jets' first-round pick in 1988. Selanne stayed in his native Finland for four years, representing his country in the 1992 Olympics. No one could have predicted the impact he'd have upon joining the Jets for the 1992-93 season. The "Finnish Flash" scored an astounding 76 goals as a rookie.

I wonder what Don Cherry had to say about Selanne's 'machine gun' goal celebration. He probably loved it, only because Teemu was playing for a Canadian team at the time. (Do that as a Duck and Grapes will rip ya a new one.)

Selanne's 1992-93 season was the best of his Hall of Fame career, and the best rookie season ever. I'd put it right up there with Aaron Judge across all sports. I think Teemu's Upper Deck RC was listed in Beckett for at least $15 at one point.

Selanne only played about three seasons' worth of games in Winnipeg before being traded to Anaheim in 1996. As I recall, it was because he wanted superstar money and the Jets couldn't afford to pay him. He's still a fan favorite in the 'Peg

Winnipeg Arena was an aging old barn in a small market, and the Jets were no longer viable due in large part to a weak Canadian dollar. (I think the CAD was valued as low as 65 cents USD.) No amount of fan support could hide the fact that Canadian teams were bleeding cash in the '90s because they were taking in Canadian dollars and paying out US dollars. 

Their last game at Winnipeg Arena was a first-round loss to the Detroit Red Wings. I watched that game and really hoped the Jets could keep it going just a little longer.

It's always sad for me to see a franchise leave its home - something I experienced a year later with the Whalers. The classic NHL we grew up with was gone for good after three of the four WHA franchises relocated (the Oilers, who were also suffering financially, barely held on.) 

Coyotes fans adopted the Winnipeg "whiteout" their first few years in Phoenix - back when they sold out games and made the playoffs. (The team should have never moved.. to Glendale.)

Keith Tkachuk was the Jets' first-round pick in 1990. He registered his first 50-goal season in the Jets' final season and was team captain for their final game. The US Hockey Hall of Famer and his Arizona-born sons Matthew and Brady were all drafted by Canadian clubs.

When I first started Sports Card Tour I had the idea of selecting nine of my favorite base commons and adding a "cross-section" binder page of each team. I soon discovered that would eat up a lot of space, so I cut it down to these 4x2 scans and only used them for certain teams - usually when I didn't have a lot of other items to share. 

I try to abide by the rule about scanning the back of 1993-94 Leaf cards.. but I scanned the front because half the foil is missing, creating a 'crescent moon' effect.

As the NHL headed for a lockout in 2004 the old Winnipeg Arena was replaced with MTS Centre. The capacity was built to accommodate their AHL team, the Manitoba Moose. (Thought I had some Moose cards but I can't find any in my binder.) The new arena was thought to be too small for an NHL team - and few believed a team would return to Winnipeg.

In 2011 the Atlanta Thrashers flew north to Winnipeg and were re-christened the Jets. Upper Deck's 2011-12 Series 1 set pictured veteran players in Atlanta uniforms; rookie Mark Scheifele was the first draft pick of the new Jets - and the first player pictured in the new uniform.

Winnipeggers had been trolling fans of the Coyotes, Panthers, Thrashers, and other US-based teams for years. Many Jets fans blamed NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for the loss of the original Jets but I've never seen anyone give him credit for facilitating-if not expediting-the return of the Jets or making no attempt to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta.

The whole thing left a sour taste in my mouth and I haven't been able to root for the new Jets as a result. I don't like franchise free agency in general...that said, there's no denying how popular the Jets are in Winnipeg and across Canada. I'd say they're second only to the Leafs at the moment.


Andrew Ladd was the Thrashers' last captain and the Jets' first captain. As a rookie with the Hurricanes, Ladd injured Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. As a result, the Oilers were the only team in my lifetime to use their backup and third-string goalies in the Final. They lost in seven games. I'm getting off-topic here.

In case you were wondering, only three Thrashers remain on the current Jets roster: Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler, and Dustin Byfuglien. (I doubt you were wondering, I'm the only one that cares about such things.) It's kind of poetic that Wheeler is the Jets' current captain; he was drafted by the Coyotes but wouldn't play for them. 

Would you consider any of these guys hobby stars? I only have original Jets in my star player box (Hawerchuk, Tkachuk, Selanne) and I'm having trouble deciding if I should promote Blake or Big Buff. The Exquisite base card cost just 45 cents on COMC due to one little surface impression that actually blends in quite well. I wasn't going to buy it but the price kept dropping and I have about a third of the 30-card base set. The cards are as thick as ten cards from 2013-14 Score...a set which accounts for nearly one-third of my new Jets.

I've bought a few Jets cards on COMC over the past 16 months. These were cheap ePack cards - I actually traded for the Scheifele on site, so it only cost a quarter for shipping.


This pair of Patrik Laine O-Pee-Chee cards have the same photo and nearly the same price tag (the base RC was $0.71, retro was $0.75.) Winnipeg won the lottery in 2016, allowing the Jets to draft Laine second overall. Finnish Flash 2.0 (nickname patent pending) finnish-ed second in the NHL with 44 goals this past season. 


Some pack-pulled Jets, including the only Young Guns RC I pulled in 2017-18. Jack Roslovic is one of 11 Americans currently on their roster - the most of any NHL team.

The Jets advanced to the Western Conference Final in 2018, for the first time in their history. I bought this Kyle Connor Young Guns RC on COMC after they beat the Golden Knights in Game 1.

It must have jinxed the Jets because they didn't win again. You're welcome, Knights fans.

I bought this mug on my Canada trip in 1999

Favorite Jets player (current): If I had to pick one it would be Scheifele or Laine
Favorite Jets player (all-time): Teemu Selanne

No more tour stops. The Sports Card Tour Giveaway Draft is next. Final standings and prizes will be revealed this weekend.


I hope you have enjoyed reading these Sports Card Tour posts as much as I've enjoyed writing them. Your comments and feedback on this project have truly been appreciated. I'm thrilled to hear that some of you have learned a few facts from reading these, as I was initially worried that I'd be telling you things you already know.

My original narrative idea was to write these posts as if I were writing a book for my mother. I might still put these posts together in a book, though I doubt she'll want to read over 500 pages of this!

Mom used to have a bit of a crush on Barry Melrose

Some of these posts were quite long, and some of the things I tried didn't work. And I probably got a few facts wrong (#fakenews) but I did my best to express my opinions of each team and city without being too biased one way or the other. Even when readers might have an unfavorable opinion of teams like the OKC Thunder (stop moving franchises, dammit!) I tried to imagine a fan of that team or city would read each post.

I've also had to fight a few battles with my lousy internet connection, which actually caused me to have a panic attack somewhere between Oakland and Pittsburgh. I'm looking forward to a month's worth of "Blogger X has the next pick" posts in August. It will give me time to relax, get some household chores done, clean up my card collection..and return the favor for all of your comments. 

With that, let the Sports Card Tour Giveaway Draft begin!

Thanks for reading everyone. Have a great weekend!



  1. I bought exactly one pack of hockey cards as a kid, and that Hawerchuk was in the pack. So was the Brett Hull rookie which was a huge deal at the time. Those cards are long gone though . . .

    1. My dad had a couple packs of 88-89 Topps hockey sliding around in his sock drawer. I doubt he pulled the Hull though.

  2. Good Ol' Winterpeg.
    There was a Canadjan Forces base in Gimli Manitoba. It's now where Canadian Crown is made. (The city not the base)

    There is an American Association team in Winnipeg as well: The Goldeyes. They've won the AA championship a couple years in a row now.

    The Bombers name actually came from a sports writer calling them the Blue Bombers. This was in the 1930s.

    1. I think you should do a "Sports Teams of Canada" series on your blog. Thanks for sharing the knowledge!

    2. That would be something interesting to do..
      I might just take that into consideration :)

      You're welcome with the sharing.. Whenever I could, I wanted to throw something out there that might not have been known.

      That said.. Seeing Teemu in this post reminded me of a line from the Arrogant Worms song "Me Like Hockey"

      "Me not like Finnish players' names.. What's a Teemu anyway?"

    3. Ha! I love that song..listened to it last night after I read your comment.

  3. It's hard to believe that this has been a 53-post series! It seems like every couple of years somebody tries to do some card blog awards, if they get around to it this year, I think that you're a shoo-in for the series of the year award (provided they have such a category of course).

    1. Aw, you're too kind! I was just trying to think of a creative way to show off my COMC purchases..and it evolved into this. Thanks for riding along with me!

  4. The last your stop? Say it isnt so! This has been an amazing series, Chris! Congrats on the good work!

    1. Feels weird, doesn't it? I kind of have that 'last day of school' feeling. Thanks for reading!

  5. First of all, thank you for doing this sports city tour. I have really enjoyed the series and have learned quite a bit along the way. I enjoyed this final entry and trip to Winnipeg. I have to say that I did not know much about either of the franchises that have called Winnipeg home.

    1. Thanks Tim. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed these posts. I learned a lot myself while writing these. Glad you did, too.

  6. I'm really going to miss this series. Maybe you can do another round with minor league teams? That might could be neverending with baseball having about a billion of them, lol.

    I like the Jets logo, but I like the older logo with the passenger jet even's so 80s, it's awesome. I never got to see it worn live, but I am really hoping that I will get to see it worn as a throwback at some point. I know they did in 2016-17 as it appears on Laine's base card in UD, but I didn't see that game.

    1. Minor league teams would take forever! Plus I dont have that many cards in my collection-only about 50 baseball and 30 hockey. Thanks for the kind words though.

      I know the Laine card you're talking about, definitely one I'd like to own as well. My favorite Jets logo would have to be the middle one, from the '90s. Their new one is kind of plain but their color scheme is cool.

  7. Great series, Chris! Really enjoyed reading each stop on the journey.

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed. Now I'll have more time to read and comment on your blog!

  8. Yeah, fun series. Good job! I'm sure it was a lot of work for you.

    1. It was a labor of love for sure. The success of your gifs makes me wonder how it would have fared on social media #sportscardtour2018

  9. Definitely the best blogging series of the year so far. I looked forward to each one -- and beat myself up for missing one (like this one!), not because I missed accumulating points, but because I missed enjoying what makes each sports city great. Every city has a sports history and you told the stories well.

    1. That means a lot coming from a prolific blogger such as yourself. Thank you!

  10. Favorite Jets players (all-time): Teemu Selanne & Keith Tkachuk

    I'm not a huge fan of Selanne after he was traded to Anaheim... but I really enjoyed him and collected him when he was in Winnipeg. The reverse could be said for Tkachuk. I remember him mostly for his days in Phoenix.

    1. I was actually surprised at how short Teemu's tenure with the Jets was. He's definitely a Duck, for better or worse. And I agree about Tkachuk as well.

  11. Hockey os so hard for me to sort sometimes with teams leaving and coming, it's probably another reason why I don't collect it like I used to. However, there is no greater sets than the late 90's spx ones amd those hockey ones I am chasing and spot one above :D

    1. Would that be the Tkachuk card? I loved that set growing up, the hockey edition had the team color borders, which I liked more than the football set.