Beckett Hockey

EMBRACING CHANGE

- Al Muir • amuir@beckett.com • @almuirsi on Twitter

I’ll be honest. I’m not big on change. at’s not just a product of my becoming an old geezer, either. To some degree, I’ve always been that way. Let me give you an example. Back in the ‘80s, before I first joined Beckett Hockey, I was an entertainm­ent writer. Record companies, which had long sent me vinyl albums for review, wanted to switch to the new CD format and I was having none of it. Vinyl was good enough for me. What did I need this new technology for?

A er months of foot dragging, one company sent me (and several of my Luddite colleagues, I’m sure) a CD player so we could get with the times. And you know what? I ended up loving it … so much so that when the industry pivoted to digital files I resisted that as well.

I’m sure you can guess how that turned out.

I’ve staged my hills to die on in the hobby, too. I remember back in 2005 thinking that no one in their right mind would spend hundreds of dollars on a single pack of hockey cards. As it turned out, I was wrong. Really wrong. To this day, I still haven’t purchased a pack of e Cup myself, but that exorbitant price point hasn’t prevented it from becoming one of the most anticipate­d, and popular, releases each season. In fact, the price might have been a key driver of demand, and having it out there has engaged a sizable cohort of collectors in a way that traditiona­l brands couldn’t.

All things considered, this innovation has been great for the hobby.

at’s the way it’s likely to play out with NFTs as well. ese digital-only collectibl­es have taken the basketball hobby by storm, and it’s only a matter of time before they enter the hockey orbit as well (see pg. 14 for more). When they do, they’re sure to face resistance from a significan­t percentage of traditiona­l collectors.

I might have been among them in the past. Not now. It’s clear that this is the new way. And they’re going to exert a considerab­le influence on the hobby at large.

at doesn’t mean you have to collect them. Passing on e Cup and other brands like it hasn’t prevented me from enjoying the hobby exactly as I choose, and I suspect those who avoid NFTs will continue to love their old-school collection­s just the way they are.

But I think I’m going to give them a shot, if only to prove that an old geezer like me can embrace change.

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