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Enforcers card collection: brilliant, bad timing or both?

Dec 9, 2011, 8:18 PM EDT

In a vacuum, In the Game’s “Enforcers” series of trading cards is a pretty bright way to shake up a rather stagnant industry. After all, it’s difficult to top the love that NHL tough guys tend to receive. Of course, when you consider the context of a tragic summer of enforcer deaths, a creative idea becomes a divisive matter of taste, as venues such as 680 News and Puck Daddy discussed.

To give you the rundown, ITG is releasing the “Enforcers” set in mid-January 2012. Many of the cards feature a “bloodstained” effect, there are game-worn jerseys from fights (aping an industry standard that goes back many years) and historic fights are trumpeted with images and sometimes memorabilia from both enforcers. Take a look at some of the most provocative cards, via ITG’s blog.

source:  (Here’s one video of Worrell vs. Chara, if fight videos are you thing.)

source:  Marty McSorley

source:  Donald Brashear

Perhaps the most controversial inclusion will be Wade Belak, one of the enforcers who died last summer. Click here for the card that includes Belak (H/T to Greg Wyshynski.)

ITG’s owner Brian Price responded to some of the criticisms, including a 680 News caller who believes it is “completely appropriate” and that the cards promote violence.

“I guess it’s just a timing issue right now, with the unfortunate deaths of a couple of players, maybe some related to injuries on the ice but others related to other things,” Price said. “We are not glorifying violence whatsoever. We are playing tribute to a group of hockey payers who have a specific role in the sport.”

(It’s kind of hard to believe that blood-splattered effects aren’t an example of glorifying violence, but that’s just me.)

What do you think about the enforcer cards? Do you think it’s a brilliant campaign, an example of bad timing and taste or maybe some combination of both? Let us know in the comments.

  1. pens919209 - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    Brilliant? Not really. Bad timing? Absolutely. But either way, they got themselves some publicity.

  2. betrayedbylife - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:12 PM

    i would love to have these

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:18 PM

      I actually like the one with Clark, Tucker, Belak, and Williams on it

  3. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    Pretty bad timing but I have no problem with the cards themselves

  4. flavadave10 - Dec 9, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    I refuse to buy into it until Georges Laraque is in it. How can you have an enforcer card collection without Georges?

  5. peatycap - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:42 AM

    People are ignorant to some of the this stuff. I’m sure ITG started putting this set together well before Belak’s death. One of their enforcer’s subsets a few years ago is one of the most soft after subsets there is. So the assertion that they are using these deaths to promote their cards is completely baseless. Plus, ITG sells out of pretty much everything they put out there. It’s short-printed; and there is a demand. So regardless of these deaths, this set would have sold out FAST. Dr. Price is a hobbyist; and ITG is a very small business that puts up a great fight against mass-produced giants like Upper Deck. Plus, unlike UD, ITG treats customers with respect. They very much care about the integrity of card collecting.

  6. east96st - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    Based on the previous comments, I guess I’m out of touch. I thought little kids were the only ones that collected cards. I know baseball cards had big adult following for awhile, but then the market crashed and I figured it went back to kids. If the market IS little kids, it’s inappropriate. If, as the above comments lead me to believe, it’s target audience is adults, well, adults can collect whatever they want. It’s their money to spend as they choose. Seems like a “voyeur” kind of thing, but hey, different strokes for different folks. I bought a partial season plan to the Blue Jackets so I’m in no position to lecture anyone about wasting money.

  7. peatycap - Dec 10, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    east — Some of ITG’s sets, including this one, are short-printed. And when you only make a limited number of cards, they’re expensive. So it’s mainly adults buying them. ITG does have some sets that are less expensive though. But this set certainly won’t be one of them. I’m guessing the “box” of 16 or so cards will run at least $100.

  8. dominicthedonkey - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    How about a tooth that was knocked out during a fight be included in the card set.

  9. jonpop - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    More garbage from the basement of Brian Price. Zero resale value, zero collectability and zero on the design. UP there with the other 100 or so bad ideas that come from ITG.

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