One Game Wonder #1

1994-95 Score card #217 – Josef Cierny

1994-95 Score card #217 - Josef CiernyIn the 1990s, trading card companies tried very hard to be the first to feature a player – any player – in their sets. They lowered their standards to include practically anyone who came within 10 feet of an NHL sweater. Forget the cup of coffee – even a whiff of coffee would suffice. Josef Cierny was one such player, a one-game wonder who appeared on one NHL trading card. His game was for the Edmonton Oilers in the 1993-94 campaign; good enough for inclusion in Score’s 1994-95 set.

It may seem a bit premature – or even silly – to put such a player on a card. After all, Cierny went scoreless in that game. But the more rookie cards a set had, the more valuable collectors would think it would be. Score went through extreme lengths to find 40 different up-and-comers to put into their 1994-95 issue.

1994-95 Score card #217 - Josef CiernyThey also went through extreme lengths to say something positive about Cierny and his two seasons in the minors. Here’s the text from the back of the card – interspersed with my commentary:

Called a “great playmaker” by Oilers management,

Oh he is? Who said that? How drunk were they?

Josef spent most of the ’93-94 with Edmonton’s Cape Breton farm club where he posted 30 goals and 27 assists in 73 AHL games.

57 points in 73 minor-league games? We all can figure out where his career is headed – Europe!

The highly skilled winger was a second-round draft choice of the Sabres in 1992,

OK, that’s promising. Where’s the catch?

but was traded to Edmonton a year later exchange for Craig Simpson.

Ah ha! So the Sabres quickly figured out that the guy was a bust, and unloaded him on the poor, rebuilding Oilers. Simpson was at the end of his career when swapped for Cierny, but still played 46 games over the next two seasons. Cierny, meanwhile, played three seasons in the minors and the next eleven in – you guessed it – Europe. He finished the 2008-09 season in The Netherlands. Ironically, he was the only one on the team with any NHL experience.

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

2 thoughts on “One Game Wonder #1”

  1. 1990's? Upper Deck still features one game rookies in the Young Guns set. How else are they going to find 100 players every year to feature?

  2. Very true…Upper Deck does that today, but for different reasons.

    Back then, it was to beat out their competition to feature a new guy in their set.

    Nowadays, it is more about bloating the number of short-printed RCs to drive up pack/box sales.

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