Review: 1991-92 Pro Set Platinum Hockey

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#26 – Ed Belfour (view back)

It was a frosty Chicago afternoon in late December of 1991. I was on break from school. The “Christmas money” was burning a hole in my wallet. It burned hot enough to make me brave the cold and venture out to the local mall. For those who grew up in Chicago, the mall I speak of was the Brickyard. Back in its heyday, the Brickyard Mall was Chicago’s premier indoor shopping center. It was torn down in 2002 and rebuilt as an outdoor monstrosity, but I digress. 

#52 - Wayne Gretzky
#52 – Wayne Gretzky (view back)

The Osco Drug store at the Brickyard had one side of an entire aisle dedicated to just sports cards. But behind the camera counter is where they kept the good stuff; cards like Upper Deck or Stadium Club, and not the usual 50-cents-per-pack swill like Topps or Score. Behind the counter was a full, unopened box of hockey cards that I had never seen before: Pro Set Platinum Series One. 

At a glance:
– 1991-92 Pro Set Platinum Hockey
– 300 cards
– 20 “Platinum Collectible” inserts
– Size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Download checklist

Man, was I excited! Even though I religiously read Beckett Hockey Magazine, this was the first I had heard of Pro Set issuing a high-end set of hockey trading cards. I don’t recall what they cost, but I think they were around $1 per pack. I eagerly purchased the entire box. I hurried home and opened every pack while sipping hot cocoa, and made two complete, 150-card sets; the good old days indeed.

Pro Set Platinum Hockey logo.
Pro Set Platinum Hockey logo.

Now, 25 years later, I think it would be fun to take a look back at the first, last and only set of Pro Set Platinum hockey cards.  Continue reading “Review: 1991-92 Pro Set Platinum Hockey”

Review: 1998-99 Blackhawks Legends

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Pizza Hut restaurants in Chicago offered a five-card set of Blackhawks Legends during the 1998-99 season. I don’t remember the specifics, but I think you had to buy a pizza to get one of these cards. I also think that they gave out a different card each week for a five-week period. I vaguely recall clipping an ad about this offer out of a newspaper.

I also recall that I was two blocks shy of our nearest Pizza Hut’s delivery range. I was living at my college’s dormitory, located in downtown Chicago, and didn’t have a car. I wanted these cards bad enough that I even offered to meet the Pizza Hut delivery driver at the corner of their delivery boundary, but NOOOOO, they’d only deliver to a street address, and not to the corner of Congress and Dearborn.

Fast forward to 2016, and I finally tracked down all of these Blackhawks Legends cards. They weren’t particularly expensive, and a nice collector even gave me the last card that I needed — Bobby Hull — for free. But in all of my years of collecting, I don’t see these pop up too often online or at shows. That said, here is a review 17 years in the making.

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Review: 1992-93 Kraft Hockey

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Editor’s Note: Rob Joncas is a new Puck Junk contributor. Please welcome him with a comment below.

The 1992-93 NHL season stands as one of the greatest in history for several reasons:

  • The Stanley Cup celebrated its 100th Birthday
  • Wayne Gretzky made his last appearance in a Stanley Cup Final
  • Mario Lemieux battled cancer and put on a scoring clinic, claiming an Art Ross Trophy that Pat Lafontaine had all but secured.
  • Teemu Selanne terrorized goaltenders around the league scoring, 76 goals and adding 56 assists  for 132 points.

Today we are taking a look at the 1992-93 Kraft NHL Set, which came with a special album. To some it was a perfect marriage Kraft products and hockey cards.

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Review: 1993-94 Pittsburgh Penguins

1_Mario_LemieuxDuring the 1990s, Pittsburgh-area grocery chain FoodLand sponsored an annual set of Penguins trading cards. Children in and around the Pittsburgh area could get a card for free by from an on-duty police officer, who probably stored the cards in their back pockets, forever keeping them from a BGS 10 rating.

But I digress. The 1993-94 Penguins set looks good and has cards of many star players who went onto Hall of Fame careers.

Continue reading “Review: 1993-94 Pittsburgh Penguins”

Review: 1993-94 High Liner Greatest Goalies Set & Album

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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.

At a glance:
– 1993-94 High Liner Greatest Goalies
– 15 Cards (size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″)
– One Mini Album
Download checklist

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.

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Review: 1984-85 Topps Hockey

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After producing no hockey card sets during the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons, Topps hockey cards made a comeback in 1984-85. That year, the company released a small, 165-card set. Considering that Topps’ annual baseball set had 792 cards, while their football set had 396 cards, putting out a hockey set with only 165 cards was a very conservative approach. Between the small set size, the set’s relative overproduction and the maddening amount of single-printed cards, the 1984-85 Topps set is perhaps the most disappointing hockey set of the 1980s.

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Those Awful 1991 Hockey Draft Picks Sets

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For those who did not collect hockey cards in the 1990s, please allow me to first explain one of the strangest aspects from that time; an incorrect mindset, if you will, that led to the production of many thousands of useless, worthless hockey cards.

Back then, and even today, a player’s “rookie card” — that is, the first card to show him with his NHL team — is usually the most desirable, and thus usually the most valuable.

“Well then,” thought several trading card companies, “we should make cards of players BEFORE they play in the NHL, because those would be even MORE valuable, so people will buy them. It would be like printing money!”

But instead of printing money, it was more like they printed junk bonds for a failed startup company. During the 1991-92 season, four different companies issued trading card sets of the players who were selected in the 1991 NHL Draft.

But like a first round dud — such as Brent Bilodeau (sorry, Habs fans) — these draft picks sets fizzled at retail. Here’s a look at these four sets, along with why they bombed.

Continue reading “Those Awful 1991 Hockey Draft Picks Sets”

Review: 2015-16 Chicago Wolves

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The Chicago Wolves, the American Hockey League affiliate of the St. Louis Blues, gave away a team set of trading cards towards the end of the 2015-16 season. This year’s Wolves set has a wide player selection, but making it truly memorable is the gritty, cool-as-hell design that you’d expect to see on superhero cards instead of minor league hockey cards. Yet, the Wolves pull it off, making for one awesome-looking set.

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Review: 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Box Bottoms

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From 1985-86 to 1990-91, both Topps and O-Pee-Chee printed special trading cards on the bottom of the boxes of hockey cards. If you think about it, these “box bottoms,” as they are usually called, are like the short prints of the vintage era because you only got four per box. You either had to buy the entire box of cards to get just four box bottoms, or find other ways to acquire them.

At a glance:
– 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee Box Bottoms
– 16 cards
– Size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
(sizes may vary slightly)
Download checklist

The 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Box Bottoms set features cards of players who led their playoff-bound teams in scoring during the regular season; that is, they were on a team that made the playoffs and led their team in scoring during the regular season. This just might be the high-water mark of hockey box bottom sets, as 12 of the 16 players here were later inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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Review: 1976-77 Quebec Nordiques Postcards

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At a glance:
– 1976-77 Quebec Nordiques
– 20 postcards
– Size: 3 1/2″ x 5 1/2″
Download checklist

The Quebec Nordiques released a set of 20 postcards during the 1976-77 season, back when the team was still a part of the World Hockey Association. Like so many other team-issued postcard sets, this set is minimalist, with basic color photos on the front and scant information on the back. These postcards give us a good look back at a time when hair was long and helmets were few and far between.

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