As an Asian-American kid growing up and playing hockey in the late 1980s, there weren't many players who looked like me. The Internet did not exist, and there was limited regional hockey coverage on television. I had to rely on studying print publications for box scores and stat sheets to discover and follow players of Asian heritage who began to emerge in the pro hockey leagues, like Jim Paek, Richard Park, Peter Ing, Robin Bawa, and Paul Kariya. Aside from the rare times I had a break from my own hockey schedule and was able to view an out of market game, my images of these players were limited to their photos in newspapers or their trading cards. As such, I frequently visited local card stores to buy the few cards of players with Asian heritage, which were mostly in the common section of some organizer. I even remember when the Montreal Canadiens drafted Japanese defenseman Hiroyuki Miura in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, I could only rely on his biographical statistics to try and imagine what kind of player he was and what he looked like. As an aside, I still have been unable to find his card to this day, and it's an ongoing search. To me, cards represent unique pieces of fine art that celebrate the player's accomplishments for "making it big," and the tangibility of cards give fans the chance to own a piece of history.
This collection was born from my desire to learn more about Asian representation and my prior reliance on the cherished pastime of card collecting. Fast forward to early 2021 and the COVID-19 pandemic, where, as a corporate attorney, I was busy working on a major transaction. To alleviate stress, I decided to return to my old hobby of card collecting. As my collection grew, I realized that no one would want to spend the time in person flipping through my card albums and learning about the players, and Instagram was a great vehicle to connect with those with the same interest, as well as educate others.
Thus, what started off as an avenue for stress relief and retail therapy has evolved into an exhilarating passion project for me and an opportunity to raise awareness of the Asian participation in the greatest game I’ve played since I was 7. I never thought this account would survive for a year, nor did I ever expect the volume of diverse followers throughout the world. Thank you for all of your support each day, especially the featured players who follow this account. I say this time and time again, but your support drives my desire to constantly refresh and improve the account. I hope this will one day serve as a reference guide for former and current players. Of course, I’m always on the lookout for new player cards, so if I’m missing someone, please feel free to message me.
In the meantime, I hope you continue to enjoy the content from @asianhockeycardcollection. Thank you again for all of your support.
Use The Search Bar To Find A Card For A Specific Player
Cards Featuring Players Of Asian Heritage
Nick Suzuki (Upgrade 2)
Here’s another certified autograph card for @canadiensmtl superstar, @nsuzuki_37.
Kailer Yamamoto (Upgrade 2)
Here’s a pretty sweet 1/1 upgrade of Spokane, Washington native, Kailer Yamamoto (@kaileryamamoto)
Jordan Kawaguchi (Upgrade)
Here’s yet another autographed upgrade. This features Abbortsford native and former collegiate star, Jordan Kawaguchi (@jordankawaguchi29).
Here’s another guy I’m excited to post about, as I’ve been eagerly waiting for a card of his since his college days. Jordan Kawaguchi @jordankawaguchi29 -
I’ve been debating adding this guy to the account, but I felt it would be a cool learning experience for those who didn’t know of his Asian or hockey roots.
1. Ty is a big, solid, Japanese Canadian, defensive stalwart from Belleville, Ontario, but he spent his youth in the beautiful Comox, BC.