By Dakota Case aka wild4life

Three cards; three Derek Boogaard cards is all it took for the obsession of hockey card collecting to completely consume me. I first started collecting early in 2010 . It all started with purchasing individual cards of players I liked or had heard of; I was new to hockey and the NHL at that point in time in addition to collecting. It didn’t take long for a few cards to become a nice little Minnesota Wild collection.

Then, one day I came across a box of 1990 Score Hockey for only $10 at the local card store and pulled my very first rookie card: Martin Brodeur! Now that was a name I had definitely heard of before. That card sits on a little card display holder in my bedroom alongside my oldest hockey card, a Topps 1958 Ted Lindsay I picked up at a local flea market.

Later, I started buying packs. Not a lot, but a few here and there. I will never forget pulling a John Tavares Young Guns rookie out of the first pack of cards I ever bought. I later traded that card for a good number of cards I added to my collection. However, I began to miss that card and later bought a box of 2009-2010 Upper Deck Series 1. Yep, you guessed it; I pulled another Tavares in the second-to-last pack. That now sits in a two-card frame with a Taylor Hall Young Guns rookie I would eventually pull out of a Christmas box break of 2010-2011 Upper Deck Series 1.

My collection exploded when I eventually bought a hockey card binder; after all, those empty pages looked lonely without hockey cards in them. My collection now consists of hundreds of rookies organized in alphabetical order, a huge binder with teams also listed in alphabetical order and I am now in need of another binder to hold all my Minnesota Wild cards alone.

I began to realize that the more cards I had, the more cards I wanted. It wasn’t enough to buy one or two packs of Victory. I needed to buy a box and I later completed the checklist. Then Score came out and I bought the equivalent of two boxes; this is another set I am working on completing.

Things took a turn for the worst one sunny December day. Aside from collecting hockey cards, my other obsessions include hunting. I was on my way back from paying a hefty chunk of my taxidermy bill and was feeling lucky. So, naturally, I decided to stop by the local card store.

I bought a few packs of O-Pee-Chee, a pack of Certified and a pack of Artifacts. The O-Pee-Chee break was decent, but nothing spectacular, the Certified was sharp-looking and I got a nice Ray Bourque Legends /250. But the pack of Artifacts topped them all; inside was a Sidney Crosby/Alexander Ovechkin Tundra Tandems /125 jersey card! I am the only hockey card collector in the area and I refuse to touch a pack from that particular box because I believe I pulled the hit of the box.

I had it bad after that; I now had an addiction to opening packs of hockey cards. I hate to admit this, but the thought has often crossed my mind to buy a cheap box of cards and open up one pack a day to help satisfy the disease, but I then realize that it would only encourage it. I tell myself to have self control and to buy fewer, yet more valuable, packs. It only made things worse when I pulled a Milan Lucic Fabrics of the Game /25 jersey card out of a pack of Certified. That’s when I began looking for PA (Packaholics Anonymous).

As my collection grew, I began to focus on individual players, with one in particular. I chose Nate Prosser for three reasons; he was once the captain of the local USHL team, he now plays for the Wild via the Houston Aeros of the AHL and he is just an all-around great guy. I had the opportunity to meet him along with Brent Burns and Wild Alumni, Brad Bombardir, when the Wild stopped in town for a meet and greet early last summer. I left with autographed hockey cards of Burns and Bombardir, but no autographed card of Prosser because, at the time, his rookie card had yet to make an appearance. However, I did have an autographed picture of Nate in addition to an autographed Wild hat and jersey. Nate is just a real nice down-to-earth sort of guy and one that I firmly believe is worth collecting.

I have since snatched up three of his Artifacts /999 rookies, an SP Game Used /699 rookie card and an SPGU Rookie Exclusives /100 autographed rookie card. You can be sure that the day 2010-2011 Upper Deck Series 2 is released I will be cruising Sports Card Forum looking to trade for that Nate Prosser Young Guns that everyone is disappointed to pull in their box break.

Yes, this hobby may be expensive and addictive, but it is most certainly worth it and is a fun way to relax and further enjoy the sport of hockey and the players who make it so great.