Back in the 1990s, I was so jealous of Canadian people. Not because of Canada’s universal health care system — I was too young to appreciate that sort of thing then — but because all of the ways Canadians could get hockey cards. In the U.S., if a box of cereal or a frozen pizza had a trading card enclosed, it was usually a baseball or basketball card.
But in The Great White North, hockey cards could be found packed in boxes of cereal, at local McDonald’s restaurants and even with fish sticks! The 1993-94 Greatest Goalies set was found, one card per box, in specially-marked packages of High Liner brand frozen fish products. It is a 15-card set that goalie enthusiasts should not overlook.
Player Selection (5 out of 5)
The 13 different goalies featured were all excellent goaltenders; twelve of them were former Vezina Trophy winners, and one was named to the All-Rookie Team in 1992-93. No cold fish in this set!
The first six cards are of then-current star goaltenders Patrick Roy, Ed Belfour, Grant Fuhr, Ron Hextall, John Vanbiesbrouck and Tom Barrasso.
Interestingly, Vanbiesbrouck’s card shows him as a member of the Rangers, while Hextall’s card shows him with the Nordiques. Both goalies had changed teams over the summer, though their cards are meant to reflect the 1992-93 season.
The next six cards are of retired goaltending legends Bernie Parent, Tony Esposito, Johnny Bower, Jacques Plante, Terry Sawchuck and Bill Durnan. Durnan is an interesting choice, as he isn’t often mentioned when discussing the NHL’s all-time greats. Yet, Durnan won the Vezina Trophy six times in his seven-year NHL career, wore a trapper on both hands and was the last goalie to serve as a team captain until Roberto Luongo was named the Canucks’ captain in 2008.
The final goalie card is of Felix Potvin, who was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team in 1992-93.
Card 14 in the set details the evolution of the goalie mask, with photos on the front and a history on the back.
Rounding out the set is a Vezina Trophy card, with a checklist on the back.
Front Design (4 out of 5)
The 1993-94 High Liner Greatest Goalies set has a clean, uncluttered design; almost a throwback to the simpler cards of the 1980s. An action photo of the goaltender adorns the front, with a “Greatest Goalies” logo, player name and team name all at the bottom.
Stats & Info / Back Design (5 out of 5)
For goalies who played in 1992-93, their 1992-93 stats are displayed on the back, along with their height, weight, birth date, birthplace, first NHL season, a short biography and a list of years that they won the Vezina Trophy. The cards also have a head shot of the goalie without his mask.
For the retired greats, there are two lines of stats: their regular season career totals, and their career playoff totals. Also included are their birth date, birth place first and last NHL seasons, total NHL seasons, and the years they won the Vezina Trophy. Like the cards of the modern goalies, these too have a head shot on the back.
Cards are bilingoual with all information in both English and French.
Packages of High Liner frozen fish products included one card, which was bagged in clear cellophane.
At the bottom of each hockey card was a scratch-n-win game card. The game card was perforated, so it could be torn away from the trading card. Therefore, it is likely to find cards from this set with rough bottom edges where the game card once was attached.
Prizes included a Chevrolet Astro Van, a Sony Handycam and a Super Nintendo. No mention if “NHL’ 94” — or any hockey game for that matter — came with the Super Nintendo if won.
The entire 15-card Greatest Goalies set could be ordered directly from High Liner, which included an album. Does anyone remember how much it cost to order the complete set?
Cards ordered directly from High Liner did not have the game card affixed to the bottom, and thus have a smooth bottom edge. Otherwise, the mail-away versions are the same as the cards found packed in High Liner products.
Greatest Goalies Album
I love it when sets have their own special album. The 1993-94 Greatest Goalies mail-away set came with this cute little album.
The album has 16 one-pocket pages. Each pocket can hold one card. Since the set has 15 cards, I used the last pocket to hold an unused game card.
The 1993-94 High Liner Greatest Goalies set is a good set to have, especially if you collect goalies. Nine of the netminders from this set are in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the other three had excellent careers. The small album makes it especially neat to own.
For your viewing pleasure, here is the entire set, front and back. Enjoy!
Card 1 – Patrick Roy, Montreal Canadiens, 1992-93
Card 15 – Vezina Trophy / Checklist
Did you collect this set back in 1993-94? Do you know what the full set sold for back then? Do you have the set today? Leave a comment — I want to know your thoughts and memories of the 1993-94 High Liner Greatest Goalies set. ■