Hockey: A Sound Investment Or Skating On Thin Ice?

In my most recent HuffPost blog, I detailed my lack of investment foresight, lamenting the fact I waited too long before attempting to secure a retirement nest egg. No stocks, no bonds, no mutual funds, no successful high yield investments. Nada, zip, zilch.

Memory however, is a selective thing. Because as it turns out, there was one financial venture I neglected to mention. And I got the ball rolling on it ridiculously early. We're talking the age of six. My investment? The beloved sport of hockey.

No, I wasn't groomed from a young age to be the next Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin. That would have involved an amount of instinct and agility well outside my RNA sequencing. Instead, my ticket to a life of luxury was hockey cards. I accrued a bunch of 'em throughout my childhood. Most from the 1970s. Some from the early '80s and even the late '60s. By the time I hit my teen years, I had hundreds of them. All-stars, obscure players, and everyone in between. All safely nestled in a series of unassuming cardboard boxes.

I sat on these suckers for a good 30 some odd years, as they appreciated in value like fine vintage wines. Then, a little while back, I pulled them out of their hiding place.

The next step: I purchased a $75 book with up-to-date appraisals on decades' worth of hockey cards. Slowly and methodically, I pulled out the crème de la crème of the cards and looked up their value. "Bring on the riches. baby!"

And heeeeeere's the rub. After a third of a century of appreciation, they were worth pretty much squat. We're talking ever-so-slightly north of zero. Why? My mind harkened back to a high school economics class I took, where the teacher explained the concept of scarcity. To paraphrase, it went something like this: "When there's less of something, its value increases." With regards to my brilliant money-making scheme, it turned out way too many industrious kids had the same card hoarding idea back in the 1970s. And with next to no scarcity, my so-called treasure trove was all but useless. "Well, I know one thing I'll be keeping in mint condition," I thought as I placed the appraisal book back in its bag.

This marked the end of my sports-related investment strategy. Ah, the untold wealth that could have been. And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling kids.

There is a silver lining. A back-up plan, if you will. When I was nine years old, my family moved into a home previously owned by a hardcore hockey enthusiast. And for whatever reason, he left a bunch of memorabilia behind. The piece de resistance: a pair of hockey sticks autographed by numerous Toronto Maple Leaf heavy hitters from the late 1960s. (a.k.a. the last time the team won the Stanley Cup.) We're talking Red Kelly, Frank Mahovlich, Dave Keon, Ron Ellis, Johnny Bower, and Tim Horton. (Yep, the man behind the iconic coffee/donut franchise. It's 'Horton' -- don't buy into this 'Hortons' crap.)

Like my ill-fated hockey cards, these sticks have been lying dormant for the better part of three decades. And although my expectations are tempered (for obvious reasons), I'm cautiously optimistic they might just bring a few dollars my family's way. (At the very least, they'll look pretty sweet above the ol' mantle.) So hey, maybe there's a future in hockey futures after all.

Anyone out there good with stick appraisals?