KITCHENER -- Hockey cards are making a comeback thanks to big players like Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews.

Hunting for rookie cards hiding in the house has also seemed to grow during the pandemic. Some collectors are in it for the investment, but others are just interested in the love of the game.

John Fita has been collecting cards since he was a kid. He got his first set, a Bobby Orr collection, as a Christmas gift.

"I had probably a good 12- or 13-year collection into the early 80s," Fita said.

He stopped collecting as he grew older, but his passion has reignited over the past few years. He's trying to get his hands on some high-value cards for investments and nostalgia.

"I wanted to go back and get those cards that disappeared on me when I was much younger, in the early 70s, and kind of fill that gap," Fita said.

Local card shop owners said collecting has also become a popular pandemic hobby.

"All the sports in general, people were missing it," said Dan Pollard, the vice president of CloutsnChara sports cards. "Trading cards were a way for for people to get back into sports."

"It grew a lot of interest, just in people digging through their old stuff, just because you never know what's in there," Lookin' for Heroes manager Jacob Brenner said. "A lot of people haven't pulled those boxes out in 15 to 20 years."

The better the player, the more valuable the card, especially if they're special editions.

"Autographs and rookies are usually the most sought after for our first-year guys," Brenner said. "But, just having a piece of game-used material, whether it be a piece of football, basketball, or puck, stick, jersey or net piece, it gets you a little bit closer to the game."

The rarest cards are worth tens of thousands of dollars. Collectors and local card shops are staying busy during the pandemic.

"It's one of those hobbies where, if you're into it, you love it," Brenner said.