The Chicago Blackhawks may have been eliminated in the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but that doesn’t mean Chicago is without a championship hockey team. Back in May, the Chicago Steel won the Clark Cup as the best team in the United States Hockey League. The USHL is the premier Junior A league in the U.S. The Steel took the best-of-five series three games to two over the Sioux City Musketeers. The Steel won Game Five 2-1 in overtime — while on the road, no less.
This Chicago Steel “Clark Cup Champions 2017” card was given away by the Steel at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, which was hosted by the Chicago Blackhawks. The Chicago Steel had a table in the lobby of the United Center during the Draft. (Two of the players on this year’s Steel team were selected in the 2017 draft.) I saw these cards at the Steel’s table — which was probably made of steel, come to think of it — and grabbed two of them. It isn’t every day that the Steel give away trading cards; in fact, the last time they did so was in 2008-09.
The front of the card shows the Steel celebrating their league championship. It reminds me of other cards of teams celebrating a championship, like the 1983 Canadian Junior Team, the 1990 Oshawa Generals and the 2013 Blackhawks.
The back of the card advertises season ticket plans, urging fans to “be there this fall as the Steel defend their Clark Cup Championship.”
While some may consider this nothing more than an advertisement, I am deeming it a hockey card. (Take that, price guides!) It measures the standard size of 2.5″ by 3.5″ — or in this case, 3.5″ by 2.5″ — and will fit in a nine-pocket page. Granted, a trading card does not have to be “standard size” to be considered a trading card, but the Steel intentionally made these at the standard size, and printed it on card stock.
True, 50% of the card — the entire back — is just an advertisement for Steel tickets, but numerous minor and junior league cards have ads on the front and/or back. The fact that this one serves double-duty as a flyer does not bother me. In fact, I think that was a very clever way to get hockey fans interested in going to Steel games next season. ■
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.