Connor Bedard’s Autograph Cards Electrify National Hockey Day

Spring had just begun to coax the chill from the air on April 13, 2024, when an unsuspecting hockey card market received what could only be described as a slapshot of excitement from Upper Deck. National Hockey Card Day, an event that annually paints smiles across the faces of eager collectors, was transformed into something of a collector’s bonanza, thanks to a serendipitous addition from the sports memorabilia giant.

Each year, hockey aficionados form winding lines at local hobby shops, their anticipation palpable in the crisp morning air. The promise is simple yet thrilling: walk in, celebrate your love for the sport, and walk out with a free pack of Upper Deck hockey cards featuring a mixture of ice-cold veterans and promising rookies. This year, however, saw a thrilling twist with the inclusion of cards for Connor Bedard, the latest wunderkind to skate into the hearts of the Chicago Blackhawks faithful.

Bedard’s arrival was no mere token addition. In a move akin to pulling a rabbit out of a hat, Upper Deck announced that scattered amidst the standard cards were rare gems—autographed Bedard cards, no less. The news spread like wildfire, turning what was already a popular event into a frenetic rush for these coveted signatures.

The scene at hobby shops was reminiscent of a well-orchestrated flash mob. In notable hockey markets, some enthusiasts were reported to have set up camp by the unholy hour of 3:30 AM, their eyes fixed on the prize. This wasn’t just any collectible—it was a potential treasure trove that could anchor collections and, perhaps, even college funds, thanks to the promising career trajectory projected for young Bedard.

Dave Tellier, who lords over the Wizard’s Tower in Barrhaven, Ontario, witnessed firsthand the tidal wave of enthusiasm brought on by Bedard’s sudden prominence in the card collecting scene. “It’s been a boon, no doubt about it,” Tellier noted, reflecting on the surging interest. The store, which had recently revived its hockey card stock, saw an influx of collectors, many of whom were new or returning after long hiatuses, drawn by the lore of Bedard’s potential autograph.

And when word got out that some packs did indeed harbor the sought-after autographs, the online marketplace turned into a virtual trading floor. Cards initially spotted on eBay for between $7 to $10 soon began to climb, fueled by the speculative frenzy that typically accompanies such rare finds.

Aside from the bustling local hobby shops, Upper Deck’s innovative spirit was on full display through partnerships with major retail chains like GameStop, Toys R Us, and even the esteemed corridors of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Here, special nine-card sheets circulated, each sheet a testament to the sport’s illustrious history and its promising future, with Bedard prominently featured among the legends.

Yet, beyond the monetary value and the adrenaline rush of a rare find, National Hockey Card Day 2024 underscored something far more enduring—the timeless allure of collecting. It’s a hobby that demands patience and offers in return a slice of sporting history, a tangible connection to the heroes of the ice rink.

As the dust settles on this year’s event, and as collectors young and old tuck their spoils into binders and safe boxes, there’s a palpable sense of fulfillment. Not just from the thrill of the chase or the clink of a rare card, but from the shared joy that only a love for the game and its cherished mementos can bring. Beyond the value of a single card lies the enduring legacy of National Hockey Card Day—a simple, yet profound reminder of why we collect in the first place.