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NNSL Photo/Graphic

yler Adams and Andy Tugak Jr., right, have become hockey card collectors since their hometown hero, Jordin Tootoo, made the NHL. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

Cardboard heroes

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (June 02/04) - Most people with a little experience in the business world can tell you that a popular venture usually leads to a couple of successful spinoffs.

Jordin Tootoo's impact on the already hockey-crazed hamlet of Rankin Inlet has lead to the arrival of a new kind of hero -- the cardboard kind.

Hockey card collecting is becoming increasingly popular in the hamlet these days.

Kids are picking up the cardboard images of their favourite players, carefully placing them in plastic soft-sleeves and filling page after page in their hockey collector binders.

Some just like looking at the pictures, while others spend hours reading the information, statistics and quirky facts found on the card backs.

Collection grows

Kris Okpatauyak starting collecting hockey cards about a year ago.

What started off as a few bucks spent at a flea market has turned into a collection of more than 1,000 cards.

"I first started off really just looking for Jordin (Tootoo) cards, but this year they're all his rookie cards and kind of hard to find," says Okpatauyak.

"So, I started collecting cards of all different players and I really enjoy it. "I especially like getting autographed cards."

Father and son combo Andy Tugak Jr. picked up the collecting bug from his father.

"Dad and I always watch hockey together and, about a year ago, he bought me a couple of packs of cards," says Tugak. "I thought they were really cool, so I started collecting. I've got hundreds now."

Sorting them by team

Tugak says he doesn't spend much time reading his cards, preferring, instead, to look at the pictures and move the players around in his binder, sorting them by team, card type or position.

He says he really enjoys his new hobby and is going to continue being a hockey card collector for a long time to come.

"Jordin's cards are great, but I like a lot of my other cards too.

"My mom sent me down a couple of packs from Winnipeg a little while ago and that was pretty exciting.

"I pulled a Steve Yzerman all-star card."