HHOF Class of 2017 Rookie Cards

On Monday, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced its 2017 class of inductees: players Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi and Dainielle Goyette; Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs; and former Canadian collegiate coach Clark Drake.

Neither Jacobs or Drake had any hockey cards made of them, for somewhat obvious reasons: most colleges do not make cards of their athletes, let alone coaches, while owners aren’t  popular enough to be included in trading card sets. (And if Jacobs ever had a trading card with his picture, what awful things would Bruins fans do to it?)

Obviously, Selanne, Kariya, Andreychuk and Recchi had hundreds of hockey cards made during their illustrious careers, since they all played in the 1990s and 2000s, when cards were printed like money. Even Goyette had over a dozen trading cards, which is surprising since there really are not many cards made of women hockey players. 

Here’s a quick look at each player’s rookie cards — along with a few interesting cards thrown in for fun: 

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Deja Vu Tuesday: Patrick Kane

The exact same photograph of Patrick Kane was used on two different hockey cards during the 2011-12 season. At first, I thought this could have been an honest mistake. But then my research led to an unusual conclusion: what if one card company deliberately decided to use the same photograph to troll their competitor? 

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Teemu Selanne’s Worst Hockey Card

Teemu Selanne has a stellar hockey career. He scored 1,457 points in 1,451 games, won the Stanley Cup and had his number retired by the Anaheim Ducks. When he becomes eligible, he will undoubtedly be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. But despite all the goals, assists, awards and other accolades, The Finnish Flash could not get through his career without having at least one awful hockey card — the result of a free-agent signing while overseas and a hockey card company that refused to use Photoshop. 

At first glance of Selanne’s card from the 2003-04 In The Game Action set, he appears to be underwater in one of those giant fish tanks you would find at a fancy restaurant; Continue reading “Teemu Selanne’s Worst Hockey Card”

Wendel Clark Recalls His Saskatoon Blades Hockey Poster

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In his new autobiography “Bleeding Blue: Giving My All for the Game,” Wendel Clark reflects on his first year of junior hockey with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League. What impressed Clark so much was that he had his own hockey trading card and his own poster to sign for fans at autograph sessions. However, something about the poster wasn’t quite right, Continue reading “Wendel Clark Recalls His Saskatoon Blades Hockey Poster”

The Inside Story on the Eric Semborski Hockey Card

semborski_frontEmergency backup goalies are a celebrated story-of-the-day that happen usually once per season, when a seemingly Average Joe gets to be an NHL player for a game. Who could forget the Washington Capitals web producer who got to be the Caps’ emergency backup in 2008 and again in 2013? Or when Jim Schoenfeld’s son, Nathan, backed up the Arizona Coyotes for a game last season? Most recently, Philadelphia native Eric Semborski was an emergency backup for the Chicago Blackhawks when they played the Flyers in Philly on Saturday. But Semborski got something his predecessors didn’t: he got his own hockey card.

Two, in fact.

In the Topps Skate digital trading card app, Semborski was the subject of two hockey cards, released just four days after he suited up for the ‘Hawks. 

“It all came together pretty quickly,” said Mike Salerno, App Producer of Topps Skate. Continue reading “The Inside Story on the Eric Semborski Hockey Card”

Ralph Macchio: Celebrity Hockey Captain

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1991-92 Pro Set Platinum #295 – Ralph Macchio, New York Islanders Celebrity Captain

Today, a former New York Islanders captain celebrates his 55th birthday. No, not Denis Potvin, though he did just turn 63 about a week ago. Nor is it the birthday of Clark Gillies, Brent Sutter or Patrick Flatley. Today is the birthday of former New York Islanders Celebrity Captain Ralph Macchio. Yup, The Karate Kid himself once donned the “C” for the Islanders. Well, sort of.

Back in the 1991-92 season, as a part of the NHL’s 75th Anniversary celebration, all teams appointed a celebrity captain. Continue reading “Ralph Macchio: Celebrity Hockey Captain”

Card of the Week: Paper Sabre

1974-75 Topps #24 – Jacques Lemaire

1974-75_Topps_Jacques_LemaireIt is not uncommon for a trading card company to sometimes spell a player’s name wrong. And occasionally, a card company might flub the player’s position, such as listing him as a defenseman when he’s really a forward. Heck, we all make mistakes. But showing a player on a team he never played for? Well, that’s a mistake that you would have to go out of your way to make. And that’s exactly what card company Topps did in 1974, when they pictured Jacques Lemaire with the Buffalo Sabres — a team that he never played for.
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Sidney Crosby’s First Hockey Card

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Before Sidney Crosby was “Sid the Kid,” he was…well, just a kid. Crosby was touted as an elite prospect long before he was drafted, and even had several hockey cards released before he went onto NHL stardom.

This is Crosby’s earliest known card, though price guides will usually omit it because it was not found in a pack with other cards. Instead, this came inside of a magazine called Rookie Review during the 2002-03 season. The photo shows Crosby when he was tearing it up for the Dartmouth Subways in Midget AAA Hockey as just a wee 14-year old phenom.

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Joe Thornton’s First Hockey Card

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Two decades before he would grow the most famous playoff beards in NHL history, “Jumbo” Joe Thornton was a teenager, with nary a whisker, playing major junior hockey. This hockey card from the 1995-96 Slapshot OHL set is of a 16-year old Thornton playing for the Sault Ste. Marie (“Soo”) Greyhounds. The back shows a fresh-faced Thornton, 30 pounds lighter and with much less hair.  Continue reading “Joe Thornton’s First Hockey Card”

The Tragically Hip Stole This from a Hockey Card

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Yesterday, Gord Downie, lead signer of the Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip, announced on his band’s website that he has terminal brain cancer.

Hockey is not often the subject of songs, but this sad news reminds me of a song by The Tragically Hip called “Fifty Mission Cap,” which is actually about a Pro Set hockey card issued during the 1990s.

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