The Legend

1992-93 Classic Pro Prospects #44 – Howie Rosenblatt

Howie RosenblattWhat better way to spread a little Christmas cheer than with a hockey card showing the exact opposite of “brotherly love”?

Only a handful of hockey cards have shown fighting, including this one of career minor-leaguer Howie Rosenblatt, released by Classic Games in 1992. Rosenblatt, a right wing for the Cincinnati Cyclones of the “old” International Hockey League, here is squaring off against Salt Lake Golden Eagles defenseman Darren Stolk. Rosenblatt looks pissed off, and you can even see one of his gloves lying on the ice.

Howie RosenblattCuriously, the card uses Rosenblatt’s nickname – “The Legend” – on the front, instead of his real name…much like how Upper Deck always uses the “Mr. Hockey” instead of his real name, when Gordie Howe is included in any new hockey sets.

I pulled this card from a pack back in 1992 or 1993. In the 1990s, Kay-Bee Toys used to carry Classic Hockey cards, and due to their unpopularity it was only a matter of time until they’d get marked down to 25 or 50 cents per pack; then I’d make my move and buy whatever they had left. Ah good times. Anyway, I was surprised that this card actually showed fighting, since that is seldom seen on hockey cards. I was also perplexed as to why this guy was called “The Legend”. Shit, I never heard of him. Fortunately, the back of the card offered a lengthy explanation.

Rosenblatt is nicknamed “The Legend” because of his tremendous popularity with Cincinnati fans. He was one of the players the franchise kept when it moved from the East Coast Hockey League to the International Hockey League in 1992-93. He is compared to former Boston player Terry O’Reilly because of his work ethic and fan support. In fact, Rosenblatt has his own fan club. When the Cyclones made “The Legend” T-shirts, they sold out within a week.

Do you think they printed up any more of those T-shirts?

While Rosenblatt was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 1990 Supplemental Draft, he never played for them or any NHL team. The Supplemental Draft – which occurred yearly from 1986 to 1994 – was for NHL teams to draft collegiate players who were not eligible for the standard NHL Entry Draft. Very rarely did a player who got picked in the Supplemental Draft actually go on to play in the NHL, though there are a few exceptions – the most notable being John Cullen, Todd Krygier, Bob Kudelski and Shawn Chambers.

“The Legend” would only play in Cincinnati for 2 1/2 seasons before moving on. He also played for teams in Maine, Providence and Portland (AHL); San Antonio (IHL); Birmingham, Charlotte, Greensborough, Raleigh and Dayton (ECHL) and Quad City (CoHL and later UHL). In 1994 and 1996, Rosenblatt played in the Roller Hockey International league for Oakland and Los Angeles. In a career that spanned nine years (1992 to 1999 and 2001-02), Rosenblatt played for thirteen teams.

Say what you will about a player who spends his entire career in the minors, but any guy who plays for that many teams – mostly in mid-to-low tier leagues – is truly in this for the love of the game.

One other point of interest on this card is the old Cyclones logo, as seen on the Rosenblatt’s photo on the back of the card. Does anyone else see a resemblance to Friday the 13th‘s Jason Vorhees?

Cincinnati Cyclones & Jason Vorhees

Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

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