Collector Interview: Drew Conklin

I caught Drew on a drive from Mobile, AL to Birmingham, AL.  We opened up the interview by discovering that Drew is a district manager for Gamestop.  He loves sports and moved from St. Louis, where he lived for 5 years, to Mobile with his girlfriend after getting promoted from store manager to district manager.

I opened the interview with everyone’s favorite question: What is your favorite beer?
Drew Conklin: That is such a bad question for me!  I’m not a beer snob so my answer isn’t going to be that interesting. If it’s cold and wet, I drink it.  Right now there is Budweiser in my fridge.

I have had a few conversations with Drew in the past so I already knew, but had to ask anyway:
GW: What is your favorite team?  The blues right?
DC: St. Louis Blues.  I grew up watching the Blues and I lived an hour from Peoria where they have the Rivermen that used to be affiliated with the blues.

GW: Who is your favorite player?
DC: My favorite all time blues player is Curtis Joseph.  Right now my favorite player is Tarasenko.

GW: How long have you been collecting?
DC: I started around 07-08.

GW: How did you get started? (Read More)DC: I started collecting cards that had the little pieces of jersey in them and while browsing ebay for them, I stumbled across the whole jerseys and the prices weren’t that bad so I decided I would start collecting the whole jersey instead of a piece.

My first jersey was a 06-07 Jon DiSalvatore Peoria Rivermen that I had found.  I don’t have it anymore.

This was a very cool answer for me.  It was exactly how I got my start as well.  We talked for a bit on how funny it was that we both used to be card collectors, thought the jersey cards were awesome, then as we became jersey collectors we began to hate the things we used to love collecting because of the realization of what they did to things from our new hobby.

GW: Tell me about your collection.
DC: My collection is 100% St. Louis Blues and Peoria Rivermen with one exception, a Ty Conklin catcher and blocker set from the Detroit Red Wings.  I have it because we share the same last name.  I got it direct from Ty when we were at a foundation event and I asked him if he would sell me his set when he was done if I made a donation and he agreed.  The cool thing is they are photo matched and they are a non-matching set.  It’s a Brians blocker and Warrior glove.  I have a picture signed of him wearing these gloves.

GW: What is your favorite jersey?
DC: I have a few, does that count?  They are my matching set that I got this week of Tarasenko’s Set 3 (Last couple regular season games and playoffs) white and blue jerseys from this year.  I dont have the blue one yet.  I also have a white and blue Backes from the 06-07 Peoria Rivermen season.

GW: If you could have any jersey in the world, what would it be?
DC: I hate to be cliché and say Wayne Gretzky like I am sure everyone else would say, but a Blues one would be great.  I also would like to get the 2 Conklin Blues masks I have tracked down.  Also, I would really like a Keith Tkachuk Blues edge jersey with the A.

GW: What is your favorite thing about the hobby?
DC: The friendships.  You can be good friends with someone that you have never met from across the country.  It would be harder to have that experience without the hobby.  It brings us together, like right now, we have a Red Wings fan and a Blues fan talking about something they really enjoy with passion.  It’s great.

If you sell something or trade it, because of those friendships, its usually pretty easy to get it back if you wanted it back later on down the road.  We all help each other out.

I also love the feeling of holding on and protecting a piece of the history of the game.  Each jersey tells a story and hold the memories of those games that you have watched.

GW: Finally, I always like to close the interview with this question.  What would you like to as as/for the future of our hobby?
DC: We really need more people to understand what we are trying to do and get more collectors into the hobby to share ideas with each other.  I struggle with the idea that some teams just pump out jerseys because they want to make a profit.  I understand why they do it, but it kills the rarity of the jerseys.  I’m not as concerned with the value of the jersey, but when jerseys are mass produced like this, the rarity is decreased and suddenly everyone has the same thing.

I would like to see collectors get more involved in the hobby and realize that everything is obtainable.  The better we grow our community, the more power we have together.

It was really fun talking with Drew.  Both of us got started in the same way, we are both younger in the hobby so  it was very easy to relate.  We are hoping that we get the opportunity to meet up as well as with other collectors, possibly at an upcoming expo.

Drew was a journalism major in college and was very interested in the articles we have been writing for  It is very possible that you may be seeing some articles coming from Drew in the future!  Now, please excuse me while I send this document off to Drew to make sure my literary skills are up to par!