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Sharing Stories

Sharing Stories

 Jaeger and Sara Koch are both small business owners here in Kelowna. Jaeger has loved cooking from a young age and after cooking in many restaurants, wanted to showcase his own style of cooking through Hunter Cook Fine Catering, starting in 2018. He specializes in catering for 6-80 people and brings the feast to your location – from charcuterie boards to appetizers as seen here, to full three-course meals. They have also expanded to Make Your Pizza boxes, Cook Your Own Three Course Meal, and Take Home Charcuterie Boxes.  Sara keeps super busy running all the aspects of the business that isn’t food related as well as has her own bookkeeping company. 

 We were able to enjoy a wonderful feast over Christmas and everyone loved it! We love to support our customers and will be enjoying a feast from Hunter Cook Fine Catering again soon!

 Jaeger and Sara have each been collecting sports cards since they were kids  – they’ve both watched hockey since before they can remember!  They have been coming to Players Choice Sports for over 12 years together. We love how each of them “sneak” in to the store to pick up a box or hockey cards, sometimes as a gift for the other, or sometimes for themselves. Once it was even on the same day and we just didn’t say anything. Jaeger loves Upper Deck Series One – for the Young Guns while Sara prefers UD Artifacts. Santa brought them each a box of their favourite UD Team Canada this year and they’ve been stopping at Tim Hortons for more! 


Jaeger’s Perspective:
“Ever since I made my very first acquisition on the carpet of my Kindergarten classroom, an unsleeved 90-91 Pro-Set Lyle Odelein Rookie Card – which I still have by the way, I was set on a track that there would be no escaping from. I was made a collector,  and that was that.
Since then, the hobby has been a way to connect with my Father, realize my Heroes, whose influence spans over a century, and gain countless joyful, exciting and fun experiences.

Here are a few pieces I’m excited to share from my own personal collection. From players who I never had the privilege of cheering on in a live game, whose legends I’ve only learned of from other fans, in books and watching old footage. To the memory of the ’93 record-setting Stanley Cup finals when I was eight years old – this card’s value is not much in monetary terms, but commemorates the win, and holds tremendous personal value to me. Up in to present-day stars and young prospects who carry the torch (leave it to a Habs fan to make a torch reference) through our modern game.

“The method of acquisition of a card is an intangible, invaluable but quite intrinsic part of a personal collection. The connection to the card is intertwined with the experience of the trade, the purchase, the gift, and of course, the revelation of a freshly cracked box or pack. The fun of a ‘big pull’ is thrilling and sends most collectors into a child-like tizzy. And the history of vintage cards is awe-inspiring and it sparks our collective imagination.”

Sara’s perspective:
“I’ve been slowly building my collection for the past 15 years, ever since I started going to Kelowna Rockets games regularly.  Going to Rockets games has been something my dad and I do together and always look forward to. 
My favorite cards in my collection are former Kelowna Rockets players, mainly ones who were my favorites to watch during their time on the Rockets like Tyson Barrie, Josh Gorges, Jamie Benn & Shea Weber. I love watching them live from when they join the team and following their careers in the NHL. 
Now collecting cards is something my husband and I do together and it’s been lots of fun for both of us to build our collections together!     – Sara
We want to extend a massive “Thank You” to Jason & Katie at Player’s Choice, who’ve devoted themselves to serving Kelowna (and beyond) with a welcoming place to get credible and useful information, a unique and thrilling item, and of course, excellent personal service. Collectors from near and far look forward to continuing to champion your success.
Jaeger & Sara Koch

owners, Hunter Cook Fine Catering, Kelowna BC

Finding the perfect piece…

Finding the perfect piece…

One of our main purposes here at Players Choice Sports is to put the perfect memorabilia piece and / or cards into the hands of our customers. We love hearing the stories of why a piece has been chosen so in the coming weeks stay tuned for more stories from our customers!

If you have a story to tell of a piece you’ve picked up at our store, email info@playerschoicesports.com 

My favourite memorabilia piece that I’ve received from Players Choice is my Wayne Gretzky autographed, limited edition print.

I had approached them about acquiring an autographed Gretzky piece for my rec room. They were able to order me a piece directly from Upper Deck and were knowledgeable about the products available and helped me pick the perfect one for me at the budget I had. It’s beautiful and I love it because the photo represents to me how Gretkzy’s career progressed and it’s high quality!

– Patrick O’ – Kamloops

This is my favourite purchase from Players Choice Sports. Growing up in Ontario I was a huge Leaf fan. I had some early health problems that stopped my budding hockey career but always when I played,  I tried to emulate Johnny Bower. Johnny was a class act and a genuine good person.

So when I saw this picture at PCS, I had to own a little piece of something that still bring me happiness every time I look at it.

 – Craig M, Kelowna

– Larry & Barb, Winnipeg
Being lifelong fans of the Greatest Player of All Time, Wayne Gretzky, we have attempted to collect as much cards, pictures, memorabilia as possible.


We have been fans and Winnipeg Jet collectors for over 50 years.  Meeting Bobby Hull in person at  Players Choice Sports was a special day and having several items signed was a bonus.  A once in a lifetime event for a Jet’s fan.


This shadow box of Teemu Selanne is special to us because it was a farewell gift from Players Choice when we left Kelowna.  It hangs in a prominent place in our house and is part of our Winnipeg Jets collection.
Score Like the Great One

Score Like the Great One

Gretzky Estates Wine & Beer Package Along with 99 Gretzky Cards



Fathers Come in All Shapes & Sizes

Fathers Come in All Shapes & Sizes

It doesn’t matter if he raised you from day one, barely saw you because he worked long hours to support your family or you found him later on in life — celebrate the father figure who guides and supports you through it all on this special day.

We have the perfect gift ideas at Players Choice for your dad, father-in-law, husband or son. We have hundreds of memorabilia items from many teams to choose from, a card from their favourite player OR brand new hobby boxes to open – hockey, basketball, baseball, football, wrestling and more.




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When I scratched my knee,
Or if I bumped my head,
When I was afraid of the dark,
Or that thing under my bed,
When I cried in the night,
Or even in the day,
You were there for me
To make it all okay.

You tickled my feet
And laughed at all my jokes.
You taught me to believe
In having high hopes.
You are my father.
You did what you had to do,
But more than a father
You are my friend, too.
You made everything good
That was once bad.
I just want you to know
I love you, Dad.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/father

Series Two Is Not To Be Missed

Series Two Is Not To Be Missed

Upper Deck NHL® Series 2 picks up where Series 1 left off delivering a new crop of Young Guns® rookie cards and incredible new content. The expanded base set includes more players for each team featuring incredible imagery, including players who were acquired later in the offseason. Finding short-printed Young Guns® cards will allow collectors to get their hands on rookie cards from some of the most talented young skaters in the NHL®.

The most important aspect for most fans is the new Young Guns lineup of 50 cards (#451-500). Falling 1:4 packs, this rookie subset contains some key names. 

As always, the parallels include Clear Cut (Hobby only) for base (1:96) and rookie cards (1:288). Additional choices consist of Exclusives (#/100) and High Gloss (#/10), plus the new French edition for base cards (1:30) and rookies (1:120).

Collectors can also count on the next round of UD Canvas cards, which average 1:8 packs. Joining 90 veteran cards, look for the short-printed Young Guns (30 cards – 1:48), Retired High Series (15 cards – 1:192) and Team Canada Program of Excellence (15 cards – 1:192) groupings.

The all-new Box Filler (1:359) insert set features some of the top enforcers in the game – past and present. All cards are printed on PTEG stock* and the set is exclusive to Series 2. A few prominent names included in the set are Paul Bissonnette, Matthew Tkachuk, and Georges Laraque.

The Day with the Cup insert is an annual tradition for the Upper Deck flagship release. The set features six different Tampa Bay players who played a prominent role in the teams championship run hoisting the coveted Stanley Cup. These elusive cards are 1/1,000.

The Rookie Materials and Rookie Dual Materials are series 2 Exclusive inserts and feature low-numbered patch parallels. Hockey fans will find them featured with young stars like Dylan Cozens and Kirill Kaprizov. The duals will have pairs like Bowen Byram and Shane Bowers.

Looking to prior seasons, Rookie Photoshoot Flashback Materials (1:576) displays images from the UD event along with an event-worn jersey swatch. Each relic set mentioned has a Patch parallel numbered to 25 or less.

Opting for some flashy designs, the 2020-21 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey inserts add extra pop to the series. Picking up from Series 1, the UD Portraits Rookies (1:6 packs) set supplies cards #51-100. These feature Gold Foil (#/99) and Platinum Blue (#/25) parallels.

Dazzlers is back, as well, with 50 more cards to collect. Options include Blue (1:24) and Pink (1:144) versions.

The popular Fluorescence insert returns, giving hockey fans another brightly-colored set to collect. Five different color variations are available with a new checklist of rookies and cards numbered as low as five. These come in Gold (#/150), Blue (#/50), Green (#/15) and Magenta (#/5) color schemes.

Dazzlers are a new addition for the 2020-21 season and were a huge hit in Series One. Collectors can continue chasing the set with new brightly-colored, full-bodied cards. In Series 2, collectors can find two versions of each player – blue (1 per box, on average) and pink – for all 50 players featured in the insert set.


Another normal element is O-Pee-Chee Update, which brings rookies (1:6) and the ’19-20 award winners (1:24) to the main 2020-21 O-Pee-Chee lineup. Parallels include Blue Border and Hobby-only Red Border. In addition, the O-Pee-Chee Retro Rookie Update set adds Black Border (#/100) parallels.

hot… Rookie Breakouts is another popular insert set featured in Series 2. The cards feature a unique design and are numbered to just 100; printed on acetate, along with Fluorescence, which comes in Gold (#/150), Blue (#/50), Green (#/15) and Magenta (#/5) color schemes. Also, it gives hockey fans another opportunity to collect cards from some of the NHL’s top young superstars. 

Unannounced Surprise Easter Egg Content will get collectors talking and their hands shaking as they discover these unexpected gems in packs of 2020-21 Upper Deck NHL® Series 2.  Includes another round of the base Street Clothes variations and more artistic Fanimation inserts. There’s a new batch of Signature Sensations. Collectors can also find an update for prospects in the MVP Colors and Contours die-cut series.

People of all ages are loving Series Two… with a fantastic group of hot rookies, awesome content and great Easter Eggs, it’s a product you won’t want to miss out on!


And Business Goes On! …a look back at 2020 in Retail

And Business Goes On! …a look back at 2020 in Retail

Who knew that entering the 2020s would lead into a world wide pandemic, who knew that life as we knew it would be changed and who knew that retail shopping would look entirely different than it had in the past.

It definitely has been an interesting year being in retail. We have had to adjust, rearrange, and pivot on more than one occasion. Last March, we didn’t know if we would even still exist after being in business for 16 years. Luckily for us, the sports card industry has boomed this past year and we continue to grow and build for the future. But what a year it has been.

When covid started to affect business last Spring, Jason, the store owner and my partner, was in LA with my son on a much deserved trip. They were excited to be going to their first NBA games and were going to see LeBron, Zion Williamson, Russell Westbrook and more in action. They did make it to the very last NHL game of the season and then suddenly the NBA cancelled all games due to covid. All events were cancelled, the amusement parks were shut down and people were told to stay home; they said the LA streets became eerily quite until they could get home. I was running the store on my own and had to navigate changing store hours, limiting people in the store and wondering what was going to happen next. We decided to shut down the store for the rest of March as the boys came home to self-isolate and we made plans to adjust. We were in the middle of preparing for the WHL Memorial Cup coming to town and had to pivot our plans – cancelling guests, events and even product orders.

If you haven’t been in a sportscard shop, you wouldn’t know that the experience is as much fun as the product you buy. A dad and his kids would come in for a few hour on Saturday afternoon, going through cards to find that one they were missing for their collection, and give their mom a much needed break. We would host birthday parties and event nights, where groups would come in and open cards, watch a hockey game and enjoy a few hours of fun. In the summer, families would stop by the store and just look around for an hour or two, as part of their tradition, as if we were a hockey museum with all the uniques pieces they could find. When covid began we had many questions…how does a store who focuses on experience keep going? How does a store that sells “extras” keep going when people are losing their jobs?

We had been working on integrating our inventory with a new website with a local company, Okanac. With everyone encouraging local shopping and supporting small businesses, we hoped to bring people to our store online and continue to add new products.  A friend gave us the idea of hosting online auctions to sell single cards. We thought it was a great plan to encourage community and fun in the hobby; we have people tuning in regularly from Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, BC, Utah, California and even China! We have done over 100 auctions, including two charity auctions raising almost $10,000, and two memorabilia auctions. We run auctions Wednesday and Friday nights on Facebook and YouTube. We started our YouTube channel for this and expanded to include our “FLEX SHOW” – where we highlight some BIG cards, unique memorabilia and current happenings in the sports cards industry. We’ve had a NHL player as a guest and plan to expand our guest list in the next few months to share more stories.

We adjusted to pickup, rearranged the store so people can’t walk around touching items, have had to limit people in the store, and on some occasions have had to tell people we aren’t open for browsing. Have we lost sales? Yes. Have we had people frustrated they can’t come in and look around? Yes. Have we lost customers? Yes. But at the same time, most have understood that we had to adjust to covid regulations and check us out online. As people stayed home, they started going through their old cards and wanting to find out value and start collecting again. People wanted a hobby they could enjoy at home and with kids or friends. As professional sports teams adjusted to bubbles or shortened seasons, people are home watching more games than before cheering on their teams. Stars have emerged, the Game has gone on, so to speak, and the interest has peeked.



Personally, this year has taken a toll. Everyday I am thankful we can stay open when so many can’t, but I know my anxiety and tiredness show through on some days more than others. I get teased that this past summer, I wouldn’t let a Hall of Famer NHL player into the store, but to be honest, I was just making sure we didn’t have too many in the shop. Luckily he was a good sport and waited his turn.

We are thankful for the Downtown Kelowna Association, who has done a great job of promoting so many downtown businesses. While many get shoutouts from local influencers & media sources, we continue to expand our reach through our own social media outlets and come up with new ideas to promote our store and partner with others. Stay tuned for some great projects in the coming months!

As we move into 2021, we continue to enter the unknown. Our days are full of phone calls and emails from new and old collectors, excited about what’s happening in the hobby and wondering the value of their collections. Half the store looks like a shipping depot, as we ship cards around the world and we do our best to continue to fulfil our purpose of helping multi-generations build their collections of sports cards and memorabilia. In the past we’ve tried to figure out how to work smarter and not harder, but these days it seems we just have to keep working harder, smarter and longer because we don’t know what’s around the next corner. As we navigate the retail world tinged by covid protocols and an unknown future, we are thankful for our customers who have stuck with us and help to promote us to others.