Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tricks of the Trade: Etc.

When I started this feature, Tricks of the Trade, my goal was to share the ease of getting autographs from professional hockey players. With a little bit of time, a decent amount of effort and a budget of your own determination, anyone can build a nice collection of autographed items.

Sure, some folks have other uses for hounding. They make good money at it, too. I'm jealous, I suppose. Still, though, it's a hobby.

As the 2007-08 NHL season winds down (Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final is tomorrow (Detroit leads Pittsburgh, 2 games to 1), here are my final bits of free advice.

Put them to good use, won't you?

~ Don't expect much in late-season hounding: After a long season, and especially for clubs out of the playoff race, the players, by and large, view signing as a chore. They'll still stop, but expect even longer stares. If anything, it's a good time to finish off team items or snag a player you let pass earlier in the season.

~ Staying put: Given the economics of travel today, visiting teams seldom travel home between playoff games. Even on off-days, they'll still practice, head out for walks and grab cabs to a restaurant. Best times are late morning to early afternoon and around supper time.

~ Be charitable: As teams are eliminated from the playoffs, pay special attention to players taking part in hometown and home-team fundraisers, such as golf tournaments, softball games and community events. Sure, it may cost money to get into the event. That's the point. The money goes to a good cause. Adding to your collection makes it a win-win situation.

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