Hockey card collector looking for cards featuring Indigenous players for a youth project
Naim Cardinal discovers once again how generous his fellow hockey card collectors can be.
A member of the Tallcree First Nation in Alberta, Cardinal has made a name for himself in the sports card collection industry in recent years.
This is because he is considered to be the first individual to create a unique collection. In 2014, he began amassing rookie cards for Indigenous players who faced off for at least one game in the NHL.
Cardinal’s latest business, which he launched last month, is the Base Cards For Kids project.
Base cards are regular cards that come in hockey card packs. He has appealed for other collectors to send him all the cards they are willing to part ways with from all the native players who have worked hard in the NHL.
Cardinal then plans to ship any cards he receives so they can be distributed to young Indigenous players attending hockey camps or clinics across the country.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while and trying to find a way to give back to the community,” said Cardinal, a 39-year-old man who lives in Kelowna and works as an educational facilitator at the University of British Columbia. . Okanagan campus.
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Cardinal had started a somewhat similar business in 2018. He knew the Moose Cree First Nation would host the popular Little NHL tournament that year in Mississauga, Ontario.
And Cardinal found out that former NHL star Jonathan Cheechoo, a member of the Moose Cree First Nation, would make several appearances throughout the Indigenous youth tournament.
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Cardinal made an appeal, mostly to some collector contacts, to see if they had any additional Cheechoo cards that they would part with. He ended up receiving almost 400 cards, which he then mailed to the tournament organizers, who then shared them with the event attendees.
Before asking others to send him cards for his latest project, Cardinal reached out to current and elite players who run their own camps and clinics.
Among those he came into contact with was 3Nolans, a company run by former NHL player and coach Ted Nolan and his two sons, Jordan and Brandon, both of whom also played in the NHL.
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Others Cardinal has contacted include Wacey Rabbit, a member of the Kainai Nation in Alberta, who currently works with ECHL’s Jacksonville Ice Men; and Devin Buffalo, a member of the Samson Cree Nation in Alberta and a former ECHL goaltender.
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Although he still plays in the professional ranks, Rabbit started his own business last year, WR20 Power Skills On Ice Development. Buffalo also launched its own business in 2020, Waniska Athletics, a business that offers a variety of services including goalie skills clinics.
“They all wanted to be a part of it,” Cardinal said of current and former players who want to hand out cards in the camps. “After I contacted them and they said yes, that’s where I started collecting.”
Cardinal said if others were interested, he was also willing to send cards to other hockey camps in Indigenous communities.
While his request was simply for base cards, Cardinal received a lot more than that. Some collectors send him autographed cards. He also received vintage cards and jersey cards (those that include a snippet of a player’s shirt).
“I thought I could maybe get 2,000 cards,” said Cardinal, who announced he was looking for cards just over three weeks ago. “We’re halfway now.”
Cardinal received packages from collectors in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec.
He also received collectors cards from two states, California and Oregon.
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A friend of hers, collector Brett Miles of Calgary, mailed a total of 465 cards to Cardinal.
“I was blown away,” Cardinal said. “He said ‘I’m sending some cards.'”
Cardinal said everyone who sends packages pays the shipping costs themselves.
“I was really grateful that they were ready to do it,” he said.
The oldest card, sent to him by a collector in the Enoch Cree Nation, is a 1970-1971 O-Pee-Chee card from former Toronto Maple Leafs captain George Armstrong.
Cardinal estimates that the Armstrong card is worth $ 10.
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Other collectors have sent Cardinal rookie cards from alumni and current players, including Theo Fleury, Jordan Nolan, Ethan Bear and Zach Whitecloud.
Cardinal said he didn’t know which hockey camper would end up with certain cards. He plans to create packs containing 10 cards for each camper.
“I’m just going to do some random packs,” he says. “It’ll just be a random thing.”
Cardinal also plans to place a personalized inspirational message in each pack.
“I thought it would be a good way to get young people to collect,” he said, adding that he hoped young players would also be inspired to make their own hockey dreams come true.
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