Ten-card set a must for goalie collectors
One of the coolest things that makes hockey so different is the uniqueness of the goaltender. Not only do hockey goalies wear padding all over their body to stop flying pucks, but they can have their mask painted any way they want – a tradition that started with Gerry Cheevers in the 1970s and continues to this day. You would never see a football quarterback paint his helmet differently than his teammates, or a baseball power hitter emblazon his batting helmet with his nickname. But in hockey, this is perfectly normal – hell it’s almost expected. From Cheever’s “stitches” to John Vanbiesbrouck’s “Panther”, custom goalie masks are as much a part of the game of hockey as an open ice hit, the slap shot or the Zamboni itself.
In 1993, Leaf Trading Card company released “The Leaf Set”, a high-quality hockey card set which featured several insert sets. One of these was a ten-card set called “Painted Warriors”, which keyed in on ten of the best goalies of the 1990s.
Player selection 5 out of 5
How’s this for a ten-card lineup: Felix Potvin, Curtis Joseph, Kirk McLean, Patrick Roy, Grant Fuhr, Ed Belfour, Mike Vernon, John Vanbiesbrouck, Tom Barrasso and Bill Ranford. That’s pretty much a who’s who of goaltending for the 1990s. All of these guys would enjoy a large degree of success in the 1990s. And that was really the deciding factor – it’s not about the top ten coolest masks in the game (darn!), it’s about the top ten most accomplished goalies in the game at that time.
Looking back, both Felix Potvin and Kirk McLean may not seem as worthy to be in this set as Hall-of-Famers like Roy and Fuhr. But remember – Potvin and McLean did some amazing things while toiling on underachieving teams. Potvin posted a sub-3.00 goals-allowed average, while McLean would lead the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Finals, eventually losing in seven games to the Rangers in 1994.
Card design 4 out of 5
The fronts of these cars have a mid-to-close-up shot of each goalie wearing their mask. It’s nice to see the mask with someone inside it, and not just a photo of an empty mask, as Pinnacle would do in their set that year. The close-up shots work better than the mid-range shots because you get a better view of the mask’s details. The photos of Patrick Roy, Kirk McLean and Curtis Joseph look really nice. One the other hand, I wish we had a closer view of John Vanbiesbrouck’s mask, as well as more of a profile of Tom Barrasso’s mask.
A gold foil “The Leaf Set” logo appears towards the top of each card, while at the bottom is a somewhat tacky “Painted Warriors” logo – a witch doctor’s mask with the words “Painted Warriors” written in gold foil. No 1990s set would be exempt from holograms or gold foil of some sort. A stripe at the top contains the goalie’s team name – which I feel is unnecessary because it’s about the goalie and not about what team they play on.
A photo of the goalie – sans mask – is also on the back of the card. This is a nice touch, since you don’t see those guys’ faces all too often. Bordering each photo is a sort of painted zigzag of triangles, which visually ties in a bit with the witch doctor mask on the front of the card.
Rounding out the back of each card is a 3-D team logo – and no, not 3-D like where you need those red and blue glasses. For some reason, the designers decided to make the team logo look like it had some depth. This is also a tacky design element, but not *nearly* as tacky as that witch doctor mask on the front of each card.
Really…what’s with that witch doctor mask? Isn’t that racially insensitive or something, even for the 1990s? All kidding aside, this is a pretty good set to have, as most of those guys had pretty amazing careers (yes, even you Eddie Belfour).
BONUS: The entire insert set
Since there are only ten cards in this set, picking a top five doesn’t make sense. So, here are all ten cards, front and back.
10 card insert set
Card Size: 2 1/2″ wide x 3 1/2″ tall
Click here for a printable checklist.