Starring a very young Brett Hull
During the 1985-86 season, a company called Tim & Larry’s Sports Cards in Duluth, MN released a 36 card set of the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs hockey team. The WCHA Champions the prior year, the team had another reason for being a popular draw – their captain was Brett Hull, son of the legendary Bobby Hull. Brett was a top player in his two seasons with UMD, and is the main reason why this set – despite being 25 years old – is not too difficult to find.
Player Selection 5 out of 5
Thirty-two player cards are in this set, plus four cards of coaches, mascots and cheerleaders. From what I can tell, every player from the ’85-86 UMD team are included, with the exception of Wayne Smith, who played 11 games that season. Goaltender Ben Duffy has a card, even though he only played one game in ’84-85. It must have been one hell of a game, because he went onto another team for the ’85-86 season.
Front Design 5 out of 5
The design seems to be a mash-up of a few sets released earlier in the decade. The layout is similar to the 1981-82 Topps/OPC sets, with the rounded outline around the photos and the team name superimposed over the bottom of the photo. The set also adds a player headshot in the lower right-hand corner – just like the 1984-85 Topps/OPC sets. Those who collected in the 1980s will wax nostalgic about this set’s markedly eighties design.
Unfortunately, the photographs themselves are a bit dark. The photo session shots feature the players skating with the puck, taking a shot on goal or doing a hockey stop – or making a save if it is a goalie. But the players’ maroon uniforms do not stand well against the dark backgrounds. You think they could have turned on a few more lights in the place.
Back Design / Stats & Info 5 out of 5
The back of each card is well-organized, with the Bulldog’s logo facing the player’s name and personal data (height, weight, year in school, birth date and hometown). Underneath that is a biographical paragraph mentioning the player’s accolades, followed by their stats with UMD. The top-down layout makes the information easy to follow. Notice the two headed “Tim & Larry” in the lower left corner.
And now, a word of caution…
Don’t pay too much for this set. It has long been rumored that either Tim & Larry, or someone with access to the original printing plates, reprinted this set in the early 1990s when Hull became a superstar. The reprinted sets are not different from the originals in any way, meaning that a lot of sets could be out there. Hull was one of the hottest players in the early 90s – printing and selling more of these sets, in the “boom years” of hockey card collecting, was like a license to print money.
Despite what sellers on eBay would like you to believe, this set is not rare. Price guides list it as valued around $35, but I’ve found it for around $10 or $15. Pay what you think is appropriate, but remember that there are probably enough of these to go around.
Sure, the set could be Brett Hull and 35 blank pieces of cardboard, and people would still buy it. Overproduced or not, the Hull card makes this set interesting to own. You don’t see college hockey sets often, and seldom are they as well designed as these.
Five cards of interest…
28 – Brett Hull – Hull went onto NHL stardom and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. The back of the card informs us that Hull “likes to feed live mice to [teammate] Joe DeLisle’s piranhas.” (back)
5 – Norm Maciver – Maciver played a cool 500 games in the NHL, led the Ottawa Senators in scoring during the ’92-93 season and scored the last goal in Winnipeg Jets history. (back)
35 – Hockey Cheerleaders – I know these girls are like in their late teens or early twenties, but why do the poodle haircuts make them all look like they’re 30? (back)
36 – Jay Jackson – A.K.A. “The Maroon Loon” – You’d think the UMD Bulldogs would have a bad-ass bulldog as their mascot, but instead it’s a googley-eyed bird with a cape. (back)
36 card set
Card size: 2 1/2″ wide x 3 1/2″ tall
Click here to download a printable checklist