Merry, Yet Dreary

1991-92 Parkhurst unnumbered insert card – Santa Claus

Santa ClausDuring the 1991-92 season, the Pro Set company issued a set of Parkhurst hockey cards, releasing Series One in late 1991. A random insert in Series One packs was a card of the fat man himself, Santa Claus. The painting on the front of the card is Christmas-y and all, while the text on the back is downright depressing. Instead of wishing us holiday cheer, the card reminds us that things could always be worse:

HAPPY HOLIDAYS…

The holiday season is a favorite time of the year for most people. It’s a time when families reunite, gifts are exchanged, and children are on their best behavior in anticipation of a visit from Santa Claus. But for the less fortunate, the holidays are simply a time when the weather turns cold. For some, there are no loved ones to visit, no presents to exchange. And, sadly, for some children St. Nicholas never arrives.

This holiday season, remember those who need more than ‘best wishes’ for a prosperous new year. Your kindness may prove to be the greatest gift of all.

What the hell? It starts off friendly enough with “Happy Holidays…”, but quickly spirals into a painful reminder of just how sad and alone we really are in this world. Reading this makes me want to jump off a bridge. Well OK, not really. Though perhaps spending more money on hockey cards will make me feel better about life. Regardless, Pro Set is basically saying “Merry Christmas, kid. Be glad you have parents and get presents!”

Santa ClausAt least the front of the card refrains from showing us starving orphans or homeless people burning Pro Set cards in an oil drum fire for warmth. Here we see “St. Nicholas” – who sadly, doesn’t give a damn about some children – examining a trading card under a magnifying glass while other cards tumble down into a sack.

Lud DennyTo the leftt of Santa, is a poster of a chubby little elf that is labeled HIMSELF (with the ELF in bold). That is actually a portrait of Lud Denny, who was at the time the President of Pro Set before running the company into the ground (way to go, Lud!) The three elves standing in the foreground also look like creepy middle-aged people; perhaps they were also Pro Set employees?

A few hockey knickknacks adorn the card, including a hockey stick, skates and the Pro Set hat that sits atop Santa’s head.

Pro Set HatBut what I really wanted to know was what cards are falling into the bag, and what card is Santa examining so thoroughly that he needs a magnifying lens? To find out, I scanned the card at 1600 dpi to have a closer look.

Unfortunately, these cards all suck pretty hard, and I have to wonder who got drunk and selected these lame cards for Santa to gift? One of the cards falling into the sack is a Yo! MTV Raps trading card of 1990s R&B/hip-hop group Bel Biv Devoe.

Bel Biv DevoeBel Biv DevoeThe other falling card is a 1990-91 Pro Set hockey card of New York Islanders forward David Volek.

Dave VolekDave VolekSticking out of the bag is a football card – who cares about those? And the card that St. Nick is scrutinizing is another 1990-91 Pro Set hockey card – this one of number two draft pick Peter Nedved. Apparently, the old man had a “thing” for Czech players.

Peter NedvedPeter NedvedSo why was Santa throwing such lousy cards into his sack? Maybe he ran out of coal that year.

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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