Canadian hockey card collectors want to put Tim Hortons in the penalty box.
A former investment banker and his 10-year-old son say something is fishy with this year’s National Hockey League hockey card promotion, after the two bought pair after pair of the card packs from Canadian fast-food giant Tim Hortons in Toronto.
Christopher Lau and his son were hoping to snag a complete set of the cards, which include special “clear cuts,” autographed and sealed in plastic, and “franchise trios,” which feature three players on one card.
They bought dozens of card packs, but have been unable to compile a complete set, raising their suspicions that something was not right with the promotion, which began last month.
“They list the odds on the back of the pack, so you only have to buy roughly 12 packs before you hit these inserts,” said Christopher Lau in an interview with the Toronto Star. “Something felt wrong.”
Lau, who was trained as an engineer, suspects someone is cherry picking the most prized cards, including “clear cuts” and the multiplayer “franchise trios.” The transparent clear cuts appear in one out of every 12 packs and trios appear in one out of every 24, according to the odds printed on the wrappers.
“A lot of kids and parents may have spent hundreds of dollars on these packs before knowing that they have almost no chance of ever completing a set or experience the joy of getting a great pull — a [Connor] McDavid Trio or a [Sidney] Crosby Clear,” he told the newspaper. “They’re cheated before they even nibble the foil on the corner pack to open them up.”
In a statement, Tim Hortons said it has no evidence of cheating in 2020. The company has implemented “strict security measures” and provided “clear training materials” to ensure this years’ annual NHL card promotion is fair and all customers have a chance to open a pack containing a rare and valuable card, the company said.
The resale market for special hockey cards can be very profitable. A Sidney Crosby signature card is currently on sale for $2,000. A Connor McDavid Clear Cut can go for $22 and an Edmonton Oilers Trio can be worth up to $60, according to the Toronto Star.