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Stories/Op-Ed

Nick Rose is Enjoying Life Stopping Shots and Collecting Cards

As a kid, Nick Rose collected a lot of sports trading cards.

But it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic when the Toronto Rock goaltender realized just how many cards he had accumulated during his youth.

“I started going through some boxes and I found about ten albums of hockey cards from back in the 90’s,” said Rose.

It was at that moment when Rose fell in love with card collecting again.

“I knew some people that were in the hobby for a long time and they helped me with getting back in it,” said Rose.

Rose’s prized possession is a 1955 Bowman Willie Mays card that was given to him by his mother who got it when she was a child.

“It’s pretty cool to kind of understand how long it’s been in existence,” said Rose.  “I sent it to PSA (Professional Sports Authenticators).  It was only a 1.5 (fair on the scale) but it still looks awesome.  I don’t think I’ll be getting rid of it anytime.”

But Rose is very active in the hobby and continues to collect rookie cards of his favorite players in all sports.

He also likes to wheel and deal.

“I like completing some sets and making trades,” said Rose.

It was interesting that Rose brought up trades during our phone conversations because as luck would have it, I’m also an avid card collector and I’m going to see Rose this weekend when the Rock come to Long Island to face the New York Riptide Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum (7:30pm ET on ESPN+ and TSN.ca).

During our conversation, I learned that Rose is a big Toronto Maple Leaf fan and I told him that I’m a huge New York Islanders fan. As the radio voice of the Riptide, I’ll be at the shootaround Saturday morning so I proposed a trade to Rose…

Since we’ll be in the Nassau Coliseum, the former home of the Islanders, I offered to trade him some Maple Leafs cards in exchange for some Islanders cards.

“I definitely have some Islanders cards,” said Rose. “I’ll find some Islanders that I’ll part ways with.”

That should be a fun exchange at “The Barn” just hours before the Rock face the Riptide in a very important early season game. Toronto is off to a 1-2 start and they’re looking to get things on track as they hope to compete for the NLL championships this season.

“We just kind of have to own our record right now and be ready to come to play,” said Rose. “There are really no excuses to not be ready to play this weekend.”

The Rock will be facing a Riptide team that was expected to take a big step forward this season but they are off to an 0-2 start.  However, Toronto is not about to take this game for granted.

Despite their record, New York has a lot of talent.

“I do see them as a dangerous threat every single weekend,” said Rose. “I think that they can beat every team in the league. They’re a very high-flying offense led by Jeff Teat and Callum Crawford. “We know it won’t be easy. They’re a tough matchup for everybody.”

When he’s not stopping shots or collecting cards, Rose has a full-time job as the General Manager of the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville, Ontario. He’s in charge of running the facility, organizing the Centre’s in-house lacrosse programs and booking other events like soccer groups and Oakville Minor Lacrosse.

“Just have to be on top of the calendar and make sure everything runs smoothly,” said Rose. “I’m always around the game of lacrosse.  It’s something I really enjoy and I don’t see changing too much going forward.”

And Rose is also enjoying his role as General Manager of the Orangeville Junior A Northmen lacrosse team. Rose just completed his first season as GM following a six-year run as Assistant General Manager. With all of the executive experience that Rose now has on his resume, he is setting himself up for a future in the front office of a professional lacrosse team.

“I think that’s a route I definitely want to go when I stop playing,” said Rose. “I think getting into the executive (side of the business) is something I want to do and trying to get better at year after year.”

And Rose is trying to use his ever-growing business experience to try and connect his love of lacrosse with his love of sports trading cards.  His vast collection of cards now includes lacrosse cards, a part of the industry that has been growing.

“Lacrosse cards are starting to blow up a little bit,” said Rose. “I’m all over that.”

But unfortunately, Rose is missing a lacrosse card that doesn’t exist.

“I don’t have my own card,” said Rose. “I know we’ve talked with the NLL and NLLPA. I’m hoping maybe for next season they get something going. I think it would be awesome. It definitely connects a league and athletes more so to their fans so I really think the value in it is huge and it’s just kind of fun to open up packs and hit a Tom Schreiber autograph is very cool.”

What would also be cool for Nick Rose, in addition to helping the Toronto Rock win an NLL championship, would be to add a very important card to his collection.

Absent from his collection is a Wayne Gretzky rookie card.

“I would love to get a Gretzky at some point,” said Rose. “I’m going to have to make some trades.”

Would this be a good time to tell Rose that I have one of those?

NLL