Custom Cards: My Rec League Team Set

sal_frontSeeing that I am a hockey card collector, graphic designer and recreational hockey player, it was only a matter of time before I created custom hockey cards of myself and my teammates. And they came out awesome! card_stacksI had the cards produced by My Hockey Trading Cards, a company that prints custom cards that you create. The quality of these cards is top-notch. They are glossy on both sides and about the thickness of a modern Upper Deck trading card. A few years ago, I used their services when I designed a card for Paul McIntosh, a Buffalo Sabers player from the 1970s who never had his own card. While MHTC has many templates you can chose from, I preferred to go with something a little more retro.

sal_front topps_frontMost card collectors will instantly recognize that I cribbed the 1981-82 Topps Hockey design for my Blades of Steel trading cards. Elements that I love about this design are the border, with its rounded corners, and the team name “stamped” diagonally across the bottom of the photo. I also like that the Topps logo is integrated into the design. Here, I replaced the Topps logo with “HNHL,” which stands for Heartland Novice Hockey League, the beginner-level hockey league that we play in.

sal_back score_backHowever, I did not want to use the ’81-82 Topps design for the back, so I went with something similar to the 1990-91 Score card backs — with the circular head photo, vitals, stats and a biographical blurb. I went with bigger text sizes because I wanted to make sure that people can read the cards. (And before anyone criticizes my lack of scoring prowess, keep in mind that I am a stay-at-home defenseman.)

blades_logo icehogs_logo
I always loved how minor league team sets had a logo card, so I decided to make one for our team set too.

However, I did not want to put a checklist on the back. Checklist are lame. Instead, I put a team photo on the back of the logo card.

team_bladesHere’s our team after we won our league’s inaugural championship back in March.

team_scoreI love cards like these in old sets because they capture a moment in time and you can see the pure joy on the players’ faces. Just look at how happy the Oshawa Generals were to win a TV back in 1990.

team_opcI also love how 1970s sets had team photo cards. I wish team photo cards were included in modern sets, so I really had include one in my Blades of Steel set.

Here are some of the other cards in my team set that I am fond of.

blair_front potvin_frontThe only photo I had of my teammate Blair was of him about to receive our league championship trophy. His card reminds me of Felix Potvin’s 1991-92 Upper Deck card.

joe_front martin_frontWe did not have any game photos of the new guys on our team, so we did what photographers did back in the 1970s: have the player pose against the wall in the locker room. Joe was trying to imitate those old card photos where the player held out their stick. I asked him to raise his stick so that it frames his head on one side.This is a perfect card for my teammate, whom I’ve affectionately nicknamed “Psycho Joe.”

scottHere’s a good photo of two of my teammates doing a high-five after a goal.

anthonyA shot of my teammate Anthony chasing down the puck. Anthony and I started taking hockey lessons together last summer, and now we are teammates.

jeffThis was the only “on-ice” photo I had of this teammate, who is shaking hands with an opponent after a game. Not an action shot per se, but I still like this picture because it shows the good sportsmanship exhibited by most rec league hockey players.

chrisI like this picture because it is ice-level. You can see teammates on the bench and an opponent in the background. I do wish that Chris’ head was turned more towards the camera, but this is still better than a lot of 1980s cards.

henryAll teams need a goalie, and all team sets should include one. The fun fact on the back of Henry’s card states that the “H” on his mask does not stand for “Henry,” but for “Hockey..”

It might seem silly for a bunch of grown men to want their own hockey cards — and I will freely admit that I was the ringleader in this little endeavor — but most of the guys on my team were psyched about this project; all were supportive.

Now I wonder if I could convince my teammates that we should get a new set made once this season is over…

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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