Tuesday, March 26, 2013

An International TTM

I have had surprisingly good luck sending autograph requests overseas.  A lot of sports don't have that option.  Football is pretty much 100% American.  Basketball does have a few players who go international.  Baseball does too, but I haven't tried any in either of those two.  And I don't collect enough soccer to both with it.

Hockey though seems to constantly have players going back and forth between Europe and North America.  Part of it is the constant labor disputation over the last few years.  It's also the fact that the sport is truly international.  Yeah, baseball is (was) an Olympic sport and has the WBC, but it's pretty well limited to the Western Hemisphere and the Pacific Rim.  You won't see the German National Baseball Team taking on Algeria anytime soon.

But hockey is truly international.  In the last ten years alone, the NHL has seen players from the US, Canada, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the UK, France, Austria, Denmark, and Poland.  And that doesn't include those born in a country who moved elsewhere-- like the small handful born in Brunei, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Bahamas, South Africa, Brazil, South Korea, Tanzania, and Japan.

Often players will retire and return to their homeland, or even return to finish out their careers.  It can be tough to find them but once in a while an address pops up and someone will have success with it.  Sometimes, a player is accessible through his team if he's playing or working with one.

I've only mailed outside the US and Canada four times now, but yesterday brought in my fourth success.  Former Ottawa Senator Magnus Arvedsson signed five cards for me in just a little over a year.  Sure, it took a while, but better late than never.  I thought these were gone for good.  One of them is for the 2002-03 Topps Total set I'm working on, so I'm now up to 352 done out of 400.

For anyone wondering, I've sent successfully to Sweden (twice-- Arvedsson and Peter Forsberg), Hong Kong (Barry Beck), and Slovakia (Robert Reichel).  I'm sure I'll try plenty more in the future-- Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Germany seem to have pretty trustworthy postal systems from what I read at some other boards.

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