I’ve got to hand it to In The Game – they sure know how to pay tribute to a hockey team.
Over the years, the Ontario-based hockey card company has produced series that are dedicated to clubs like the Canadiens, Leafs and Flyers.
Now, it’s the Detroit Red Wings turn for the tribute, coming in the form of Motown Madness, In The Game’s latest release.
Admittedly, I was a bit sceptical about the set. I wasn’t disappointed, per se, by the past team efforts, but the Habs, Buds and Bullies didn’t really appeal to me. Two of the teams were hated rivals of my beloved Winnipeg Jets, while the other was Philly, a club that… well… is hated by everyone that isn’t a Philly fanatic.
The Red Wings though are a bit of a different case. Unless you’re a Colorado Avalanche fan, you’ve likely cheered for the once “Dead Wings” in the last 15 to 20 years. How can you not support a guy like Steve Yzerman afterall?
That’s a big part of what made me want to break open my sample box of Motown Madness. Usually I wait, pondering another break video that never gets to YouTube; but in this case I couldn’t. Teases in the short days leading up to the Red Wings-focused release had done me in.
The set breaks down extremely well. Each box includes five base cards or parallels (the parallels have gold foil), four autographs (including cut pieces from players long deceased), one commemorative “Patch of Honor” card and two memorabilia cards.
The Patch of Honor cards are probably going to intrigue collectors the most. Composed of commemorative (read: replica) material, the patches are from memorable games in Red Wings history, including opening draws played in Europe and the Stanley Cup Finals. Invariably, there will be collectors who will try to “complete the puzzle”.
As obvious as it may sound, the cards that will have the most collector intrigue will be a rare insert titled “Boardmarks”. These cards are about as unique as they come – autographed pieces of rinkboard from Joe Louis Arena and the Olympia. With Yzerman, Gordie Howe, Red Kelly and Ted Lindsay on this short checklist, there will be some die-hard Red Wings fans chasing the mini set.
But what tops the cake for Motown Madness is the depth of the checklist. Sure, you get the standards like the aforementioned Yzerman and Howe, but you also get rare players like Darryl Sittler who played one season in Detroit, as well as rarely seen players like Nick Libett. It’s hard to go up and down the checklist and not find a player who you want a card of. Using myself as an example, at the top of my wantlist was Jim Nill, a former Jet.
There’s no question that the price for Motown Madness makes the box worthwhile, but if you need any more inspiration, check out our break below.
Hockey Breakers Report
Packs per Box: 1
Cards per Pack: 12
Expected Base: 5
Expected Inserts: 1
Expected Autographs: 4
Expected Memorabilia: 2
Best Card: Teammates dual memorabilia – Steve Yzerman/Darryl Sittler
Okay it’s pretty obvious, but having any Steve Yzerman jersey card – especially one with a two-color swatch – is incredible. Add a dual color jersey of one of the rarest sweaters in the lot (Sittler played only one season in Detroit) and you have the recipe for a permanent fixture in a collection.
Other Hits: Autographs of Ron Low, Warren Young, Igor Larionov, Short-print Autograph of Paul Henderson, Patch of Honor of Dominik Hasek (2002 Stanley Cup Finals), Game-Used Red Jersey of Bill RanFord
Want the Igor Larionov autograph from my break? Tune into THW Live tomorrow night!
Jon Waldman has written about hockey for several publications over his decade-long journalism career, including The Hockey News, The Toronto Sun and Winnipeg Men Magazine. A graduate of Ryerson University’s journalism program, Jon is working on his first book on the history of hockey, to go along with two other books he has published since 2009.