Sunday, May 13, 2012

2011-12 ITG Between the Pipes Cross Canada Tour

It's that time of year again... playoff hockey and In The Game's Between The Pipes. Glorious.
If you're not a fan of goalies.... stop reading now and head over to Crocheting for Beginners. For the rest of you, prepare for a visual feast.

In The Game has what they call their 'Cross Canada Tour' every year where at select card shops on certain days, a party is held based around opening boxes of cards. Count me in.
This year's party at Maple Leaf Sports was held yesterday.
But you don't care about that, you want to see the cards.........

To be honest, BTP has been lacking the last year or two.... suffering from the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" curse. Well this year, ITG stepped it up. They improved a product that was already top notch, and didn't wreck it. Hard to do these days.

First up, the base set. This year consisting of 200 cards, divided into sections.
Future Stars - Cards 1 - 63

Featuring some undrafted minor league players like Malcolm Subban (projected 2012 1st round draft pick) or young stars in the NHL already like playoff hero, Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals.
Completed page!

Next up are the Stars of the Game, Cards 64 - 99
The stars you expect are all here, save for one, Martin Brodeur. Ah the lovely licensing issues rear their ugly head once more. Hopefully Marty will return soon.

Completed page! (it seems a concious effort by ITG to use photos whenever possible that contain both the mask, and the players face. Pure conjecture by me, but I like it.)
Then we have Decades, featuring goalies from the past. Cards 100 -154
 I had to be careful not to show off all of the '70's masks.... my personal fave.
You don't usually see the Eagle's Black mask......
I love that Meloche mask, one of my all time faves....

I believe Peeters still has the record for the longest undefeated streak. And there's friend of the blog, Gary Simmons, the Cobra!
Completed page!
Very cool to see, and kudos to ITG getting Jim Carey back into the hobby once again. Jim has been rather reclusive since retiring from pro hockey, shying away from his past. Even as far as pretending he's not himself when asked for autographs by fans. Welcome back Jim!

In a nod to our warm weather south of the border breatherin, Stars and Stripes. Cards 155 - 169
That mask must weigh 12 pounds.

Completed page!
and to further alienate Canadians, we have another section of foreigners called La Belle Province.
(kidding. kind of.) Cards 170 - 189
another completed page.
The last section of the base set features the real unsung heroes of hockey. Goalies who played for brand new expansion teams, as well as International Pioneers. Cards 190 - 200

Can you tell Wayne never wore a mask?
And Vladimir Dzurilla, one of the best goalies in the history of hockey. too bad he never got the exposure over here that say, Vladislav Tretiak did.

Last page!
I love, love, love the set this year. From the new sub sections to the styling and design, especially the use of more vibrant colours. Well done.
Of course, I wouldn't be a collector nowadays without bitching... so if I had to come up with something I didn't like about it, it would have to be that with 3 boxes (432 cards), I'm still 13 cards short of a 200 card set. I have four cards of a lot of the players, but still missing 13. Not cool. Someone's algorithm needs adjusting.
(BTW, I want to thank Jay for giving me two boxes worth of base cards, as he was just chasing 'hits.')

Speaking of hits. Let's get to what I got in my box.

It's ITG BTP's 10th anniversary this year, so you'll see that theme pop up in several areas. Like this 10th anniversary insert set.
I ended up with Jimmy Howard, Turk Broda and Carey Price.
A perennial favourite, the Masked Men insert set. Again, this year celebrates 10 years by die-cutting the ruby base insert. And again my new useless part time scanner insists on cutting off part of the die-cut.

I am all in collecting this set... and managed to acquire quite a few from others yesterday. I'll show those off in another post. (I'm now at 25/50)
As always, these Masked Men also come in Silver ( /90 copies) and Gold ( /10 copies)
These are not die-cut like the base Ruby version. As my friend bamlinden said, finally something for the little guy.
I pulled a Gold version of Jonathan Quick. Cool. I know a Quick collector. She'll be happy.
There are several subsets of autographs to pull.... Autos are inserted at 1:8 packs with 18 packs per box.
I ended up with three autos.
First, Seth Martin. Approaching Epic on the Coolness Scale. Seth was the St Louis Blues very first goalie. (teamed with Glenn Hall)

I also pulled a Short Print, a Stars and Stripes auto of Jason Bacashihua. Jason was a 1st round pick in 2001 by Dallas. He has belonged to, in order, the Stars, Blues, Avalanche, Capitals, Avalanche again, and now the Flyers. His only NHL action was 38 games in the 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons with St Louis.
Blues hot box!
I also got a base auto of prospect Drew Owsley. (The Blues need to draft him....)
I honestly had to check online to see if ITG had made a mistake, or if that really was Drew's signature. Sadly, it is his signature. Card companies need to start holding these guys to a minimum standard. Or at least minimum letters. Something.

Relic cards are found at the same ratio as autos, 1:8 packs.

I pulled this Tomas Vokoun double relic card limited to /40 copies.
I'll go out of order here a bit to show off another card. At these 'Cross Canada Tour' stops, when you bust open a box of ITG's specified product, you get a special relic card that is 1/1
I got........
yeah, Tomas Vokoun. He follows me.
You can see on the back where and when I got the card.

In each pack of ITG products, there's always a decoy card. (Damn pack searchers!) They used to have fun with them by putting the logos of CHL, OHL, and WHL teams on them... people like myself collected them for fun. (each decoy card is also worth 1 'point.' You can save up these points and cash 200 of them in for a special relic card from ITG in a specified time period)

Then, the fun stopped. For a few years it was just plain, bland '1 point' cards.
This year, the fun is back!

11 of them to be exact....
Carey Price, Patrick Roy, Gerry Cheevers, Jacques Plante, Georges Vezina, Johnny Bower, Henrik Lundqvist, Roberto luongo, Curtis Joseph, Tony Esposito and Terry Sawchuk.
I managed to finish off Price, Roy and Cheevers while I was there by swapping/begging, and dumpster diving.
The others are....... still in progress.
A nice idea!

Oh, I forgot about my other relic card out of my box.............

Vladislav Tretiak Countrymen Gold numbered /10. And peeps, that leather pad is awesome. I don't know if the Soviets used deerskin like us Canucks... maybe it's caribou or Yeti.... I don't care. It's fantastic.

So a special thanks to ITG for the Tour and the product, and to Darren at Maple Leaf Sports for his usual great hosting efforts.
If you're in Canada or the U.S.A, check out ITG's website for details on the Cross Canada Tour and the Collecting in the U.S.A. Tour.


  1. I'm bummed that I missed it.......but duty called. The niece and nephew both had sports this weekend. Couldn't miss that.

    Fantastic show and tell. Love the Tretiak piece. And the masks.....

    c'mon! It'll be the best set to chase for me this year.

  2. Nice write-up, that Tretiak card is awesome!

  3. The Tretiak card is made up from dried skin of his vanquished competitors. He did play for the big bad Russians after all.

    Can't wait till the Bolts draft Subban with that extra 1st round pick they have!