Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Autographed Pucks from Jason Pominville, Mikael Granlund, and Jared Spurgeon

Last April, I attended my first NHL game in 10 years, as I traveled to Minneapolis to see the Minnesota Wild host my Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Unfortunately, the game didn't carry with it too much excitement for me as a Penguins fan. The Penguins were shutout 4-0. Malkin & Letang were out, and Fleury was on the bench, but I did get to see Crosby, and that's the important thing. The tickets were a birthday gift from my parents, and they were nice enough to get me seats on the 10th row, which gave me a great up-close view of the game. Plus, we set the Xcel Energy Center for attendance at a Wild game with 19,409 people.

They also had this really cool fundraiser for the Minnesota Wild Foundation, which raises money to support various pediatric medical causes throughout the state. For $40, you could purchase one "mystery puck," which was autographed by a Minnesota Wild player. The great thing here was, they actually pulled the top 10 players from the team to do this, instead of just going the easy route with the 3rd & 4th liners. The 10 players featured were Charlie Coyle, Jonas Brodin, Ilya Bryzagalov, Mikael Granlund, Mikko Koivu, Darcy Kuemper, Matt Moulson, Nino Niederreiter, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Jared Spurgeon and Ryan Suter, so no matter what, you got a pretty legit player.

I ended up picking up one each time I went on a beer run, giving me a total of three.

I did pretty well, too, picking up Jason Pominville, Mikael Granlund, and Jared Spurgeon. 




At first, I assumed they just did this at every game, but as it turns out, they only do this a few times each year, so I just got lucky. Still, I was very happy to add these pucks to my collection. My autographed puck collection was getting pretty USHL-heavy, so it was nice to give it a stronger NHL presence.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Kyle Wanvig Autographed Puck

This wasn't quite my first in-person autograph of a hockey player, but it was my first autographed puck. This hockey puck is an unused official game puck of the Houston Aeros autographed by Kyle Wanvig. I got the puck at a Houston Aeros game about 15 years ago, when Wanvig was signing autographs after the game's conclusion.

Wanvig spent parts of four seasons in the NHL with the Minnesota Wild and Tampa Bay Lightning, with his most significant season coming in 2005-06, where he spent the entire season with the Minnesota Wild, scoring four goals and eight assists in 51 games. His last game in the NHL came during the 2007-08 season, and he spent the next few years bouncing around the AHL and a couple European leagues, before announcing his retirement in 2011.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fargo Force Autographed Pucks

While NHL fans have to wait until October 8 for the season to begin, the USHL is kicking things off a bit earlier. My local team, the Fargo Force will have their home opener tonight against the Madison Capitols. To mark the beginning of the new season, I am showing off the autographed pucks I got last year, along with one game-used item I got my hands on the year before that.

The game-used item is a puck that arrived in my hands after flying over the glass. The puck came my way during a March 2, 2013 game against the Lincoln Stars. About halfway through the third period, it flew off of the ice, banged off of the vacant seat next to me, and fell right between my feet. It is actually my second puck caught at a hockey game, but I'll write on the other one at a later date.

At each Fargo Force game, one player is featured as the game's "Player Spotlight." It is primarily a way to get to know the players, and each spotlight is accompanied by a cover on the game's program, a "getting to know..." video during one of the intermissions, and an autograph signing at the end of the game. Of course, I attend every one of these when I am at a game, and by the end of the season, I had six autographed pucks.

Here's a quick look at my pucks, with a short bit of information on where they are playing this season.

Name: Cam Johnson
Position: Goaltender
Current Team: University of North Dakota (NCAA)

Name: Chris Buchanan
Position: Defense
Current Team: Bentley University (NCAA)

Name: Teemu Kivihalme
Position: Defense
Current Team: Colorado College (NCAA)

Name: Tanner Jago
Position: Defense
Current Team: Portage Terriers (MJHL)

Name: Alex Jackstadt
Position: Forward
Current Team: Powell River Kings (BCHL)

Name: J.M. Piotrowski
Position: Forward
Current Team: Bismarck Bobcats (NAHL)

That's it for last season, and with the 2014-15 season starting tonight, I hope to be showing off a lot more in the future.