By RGM81 aka Richard McAdam

On Saturday, June 22nd, Players Choice Collectibles in beautiful Kelowna, British Columbia, hosted their second ITG Cross Canada Tour event. Having previously had a very successful event in 2010, owners Dean Draginda and Jason Wobshall were excited to deliver the goods again to collectors in the Okanagan.

As with all other stops on the Cross Canada Tour, the main highlight of the day would be the series of specially-produced 1/1 memorabilia cards that feature the store’s logo on the front and back of the cards. Collectors who purchased a box of 2012-13 Between The Pipes would be entered into a random drawing for one of the forty cards made just for this event. Jason had posted some preview pictures on his Instagram during the week, and more than a couple of collectors in the area where highly interested in this Roberto Luongo card:

A very nice Luongo highlighted the 1/1 cards available at the Cross Canada Tour event in Kelowna.

Also included in the 1/1 binder were cards featuring Carey Price, Patrick Roy, Arturs Irbe, Jonathan Quick, and hometown Kelowna Rockets prospect Jordon Cooke. Nearly every card in the collection featured a multi-colour memorabilia piece, though none was more coveted than the Luongo pictured above. For all the slack he has been given by fans and media, Luongo remains a very popular figure for many fans and collectors.

The event kicked off at noon, as people who had been checking out the store’s sidewalk sale for clearance item deals were enthusiastic to start ripping wax in the hopes of landing some great cards from one of ITG’s signature releases. Though the 2013 Draft Prospects set had just been released, it was not eligible for the program, but that didn’t stop more than a few folks from trying their hand at landing some great cards of future NHL superstars. I remember seeing somebody pull a Zachary Fucale autograph and being pretty happy with that result.

I was one of the first people to be inside at the opening of the event. In addition to my box of Between the Pipes, I also snagged a really cool retro mini Team Canada jersey for the low low price of five bucks. Can’t go wrong! I had a pretty solid break, one that was greatly improved by a very nice PC pull of an Aspire dual memorabilia jersey featuring Carey Price and Patrick Roy! I very rarely pull PC cards during my breaks, so to hit something as nice as this really made the break pretty special.

2012-13 Between The Pipes Aspire Carey Price / Patrick Roy – a great PC treat!

Other hits included: Oscar Dansk jersey card, Kirk McLean Decades 90’s Autograph, Garth Snow Decades 90’s Autograph, Matt Hewitt CHL Prospects Autograph, and Masked Men 5 inserts of Curtis Joseph and John Vanbiesbrouck. The McLean auto, as well as a Masked Men 5 Silver of 70’s Penguins goalie Michel Dion and a Tyson Barrie H&P Number, were traded to Dean for a Shea Weber SP Game Used RC and a 2009 All-Star Game Saku Koivu McFarlane figure that I’ve wanted for a long time. All in all, I was thrilled with the box. Good names for many of the hits, and I just can’t help but love that PC hit. What a beauty!

After I was done with my box, I had my chance to pull my ticket for the special 1/1 card. Obviously my first hope was for the Price, which had a pretty nice 2-colour seam on it to boot. But really, at this point I would have been happy with just about anything. So imagine my very pleasant surprise when I pulled out ticket #3 and that happened to be….the Luongo! Yes! In all likelihood I am going to trade or sell that card to one of the local collectors here in Kelowna because I know they will appreciate it more than me, but until such a time as it does go it will be a great reminder of a very enjoyable day at the card shop.

I stuck around for a while to check out other people’s hits and hopefully even make a deal or two. There were also some great door prizes that ITG had provided: there were some of the Memorial Cup sets (which are pretty tough to find) as well as sealed boxes of various ITG products, including one box of the Draft Prospects set. Sadly I came up empty on those items, but it was really cool to see a youngster opening up boxes that her dad had won. That’s the future right there.

To conclude, it was truly a fantastic day and a successful Cross Canada Tour event in Kelowna. Collectors here are happy to support a fantastic shop and keep the hobby motor running even though the vaunted Double Rookie Class is just around the corner. Thanks to Jason and Dean for putting on a great show, and thanks to ITG for coming up with this great way to get people out to support their local hobby shops!