“Ahead of Its Time” (pages 6-8) is an article I wrote about a set of 13 different Montreal Canadiens figurines sold at Provigo grocery stores during the 1989-90 season.
I must extend a special thanks to fellow blogger Sebastien Hell (Hell’s Valuable Collectibles), who collected these figures “back in the day” as a 10-year old boy and spoke to me at length about them. His firsthand experience purchasing these toys was invaluable in putting together my article.
How I first discovered these figures has an interesting story. I used to frequent this collectible toy store in Elmwood Park, a suburb of Chicago, in the mid-to-late 1990s. One day, in the summer of 1997 (or was it ’98?) I found a Mats Naslund figure there, sitting in a display case with some M.A.S.K. and My Little Pony toys. Poor Mats had quite a bit of paint wear — must have been one heck of a season — and looked so out of place with the other toys. I bought the Naslund figure for $5, hoping one day to learn more about this mysterious figure that predated Headliners and even Starting Lineup figures.
Eventually, I found these figures on eBay, and picked up a few sets. I even displayed them on my shelf with my other hockey toys. I might be from Chicago, but the 1989-90 Montreal Canadiens was a pretty good team. And the Provigo Canadiens figures are a pretty cool set.