Where can I get those darn addresses?
One of the biggest hurdles for any person is to find where to send out for autographs. I’m sure there are many ways, such as using social media, to ask players personally if you can send some items to get signed. I haven’t explored that option yet but perhaps in the future. For the time being, I’ll stick to looking up player rosters and finding out where they have been playing for the season. Alternatively, you can email the team and ask where is the appropriate address to send to and how you should write the envelope to that player.
Tip: Don’t ever go to anyone’s personal address in search of autographs. That is an invasion of privacy and their personal space.
I love, love, love sending out cards to junior hockey players because they are usually fairly good (aside from a McDavid type player) in returning back items. You can just look up the team address and send it to the player c/o the team. Once the season starts, I would be fairly confident that the letter will be sent directly to the player. Anytime before then, there is a chance that the player may be cut from their junior team (usually younger players). One thing to note is that when the CHL season ends, players are eligible to be brought up to the AHL for experience in the pros.
There are some teams that may write on their website (in the past, I believe the Kitchener Rangers were one team) that stated that they were not going to be passing items on to players. If that’s the case, you might be able to do some detective work and see if there if they are represented by an agent or perhaps send it to a workout facility they may be at.
AHL players (non-fringe)
Similarly to CHL players, the AHL players that are non-fringe, which I describe as players who don’t have a very good chance of moving either to the ECHL or NHL, are great for sending out items to. I would say most are more than willing to send back letters and items signed. I usually send the item to the team address.
Team Directory: AHL
AHL players (fringe)
The AHL players, who may potentially be brought up to the NHL, either as a temporary call-up or for a longer term solution, is something I do my best to avoid. I typically try to see if there are any news articles or how far they are on the depth chart of a team to determine if they’re slated. I’ll also consider how healthy the team is and if they have any players sitting in the press box that can slide in if a player got injured. For these fringe players, I’ll try and send letters to them at the beginning of the season as injuries pile up more frequently as the season wears on.
Current NHL players (fringe)
This is a tough category since the player may or may not move within the NHL, AHL or other leagues depending on the teams’ needs. I typically monitor players and prepare my cards in case of a call up or send down transaction. You can see the transactions over at tsn.ca. From a signing point of view, these players are less in demand for getting autographs, the tricky part is managing to have them find their way to the player!
Team Directory: NHL
Current NHL players (non-fringe, non-superstar)
This one is pretty easy since if you’re confident that a player is unlikely to move during the season and they are a non-superstar on the team, you can easily send a letter with your items to get autographed to the team’s address. Make sure that you check to see if the NHL team does send items on to the player (I believe that the NYR are one of those teams that do not forward their mail on to the players).
If the team doesn’t send individual letters to the players, there are other options where you might be able to send to players. You can send letters to the players’ home, their agents or practice facilities if you’re able to find an appropriate address.
Current NHL players (superstars)
For the players that are superstars, it is really tough to get autographs from the players if you send letters through the mail. There isn’t much you can do, although I have had some success getting players when a lockout occurred, like this Matt Duchene autograph when he played for Frolunda in the Swedish League. Do your research to find out which superstars sign and which ones do not.
Like the previous section, you can send letters to the players’ home, their agents or practice facilities if you’re able to find an appropriate address.
Former NHL players (non-retired)
For former NHL players, sending to them depends greatly on which league they are playing for. I have not had any success sending to the KHL but have had more success with various European leagues.
If you’re lost on who to send to, here is a great link I just found if you have older cards (let’s call it >5 years) where players are no longer in the NHL. It’s a link that is produced by Elite Prospects, a great site for information about players, stats, etc.
International – Germany: http://www.howtogermany.com/faq/faq-mailing-germany.php
International – Sweden: http://www.bitboost.com/ref/international-address-formats/sweden/
International – Russia: At this time, Canada Post does not send to the Russian Federation
Retired players (no NHL affiliation)
Retired players are great signers and in fact, probably my favorite since their autographs are so nice. Make sure you write a personal, letter and they might even send back a letter responding to any questions that you may have sent them! I have sent players letters to their home with returns back in a fairly short span.
As a side note, there are some former players who are active within the charity world and if you include $5 – 10 dollars as a contribution to the charity, it is more likely they will sign for you. Sure, I’ve lost a few bucks sending letters to these types of players but you can be assured that these donations are very helpful. Do what you can to help out.
Retired players (NHL affiliation)
With retired players who have some sort of NHL affiliation, without sounding like a broken record, do your research. There are players who have retired from playing but could be on an NHL roster (GMs, Assistant GMs, scouts, etc), an ambassador or are representing a major cable network. You can send letters to these institutions and they will either get passed on or will be a return to sender reply.
Here is a great resource on autograph successes and where to send them. Please, please read the board rules as I agree with all the rules outlined in it.