I Smell a Rat

1991-92 Pro Set card #RR1 – Rink Rat

1991-92 Pro Set card #RR1 - Rink RatThe term “rink rat” is used to describe a kid who hangs out at an ice arena and does chores in exchange for ice time. In the early 1990s, Rink Rat was also the name of a character featured on Pro Set hockey cards. Some might remember the scratch-off game cards inserted into packs of 1991-92 Pro Set, bearing Rink Rat’s likeness.

1991-92 Pro Set Hockey Game Card1991-92 Pro Set Hockey Game CardThe rambunctious rodent also appeared on two of his own hockey cards that were given to children to remind them to stay in school.

This card shows Rink Rat raising his stick in the air. Is he celebrating a goal, or about to whack someone on the head, Marty McSorley-style? No, Rink Rat is not the cutest rodent you will meet. He has a sinister grin and beady, black eyes. Remy from Ratatouille he ain’t.

The back of the card is full of hard-to-read text. If you don’t go blind trying to read the tiny, all-capital letters text, then you’ll certainly go crazy from the never-ending stream of bad puns:

Devastating on the corners, Rink Rat nibbles away at opposing defenses and handles the stick with cat-like grace. Born beneath a hockey rink, he gained a love for hockey, skating on frozen puddles outside the Minnemousa Arena where he grew up. Rink Rat snuck into NHL games in equipment bags and once joined in a Smythe Division playoff game by imitating a puck. A QJML (Quebec Junior Mouse League) standout, he left Kitchenville and was pursued by the Overland Winter Hawks before joining the Pro Set Rat Pack. Possessing a nose for the puck, he has been compared to the great Hall of Famer Harry “Rat” Westwick. An avid reader (his favorite book is “Of Mice and Men”), Rink Rat urges young fans to get an education: “Stay in school for the power-play advantage in life.”

Yes, this was written for children, so it is supposed to be silly with its references to Minnie Mouse and having a “nose for the puck” (or more accurately, a nose that IS a puck).

However, it is disturbing that the Rink Rat’s favorite book is Of Mice and Men. Why is the story of a mentally retarded man accidentally killing a woman Rink Rat’s favorite story?

And the reference to Harry “Rat” Westwick is just dumb. Yes, the man won four Stanley Cups with the Ottawa Silver seven from 1903 to 1906. But Pro Set was really reaching for rodent references with that one. Virtually NO hockey fan – child or adult- in 1991 knew who Westwick was.

Harry "Rat" WestwickBesides, Rink Rat’s hero should instead have been Ken “The Rat” Linseman. The guy was a tenacious agitator – and his nickname was not just “Rat” but “THE Rat.”

Ken "The Rat" LinsemanSadly, Rink Rat’s penchant for hiding in equipment bags and pretending to be a puck led to his untimely demise. He died in 1995 when Florida Panthers forward Scott Mellanby mistook Rink Rat for a real puck and shot him across the Panthers’ locker room. Or so the legend goes.

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

7 thoughts on “I Smell a Rat”

  1. Well ProSet was pretty innovative. Who could forget the Mr. Rogers hockey card? I was never lucky enough to pull the stanley cup hologram!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *