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.
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.
A popular trend in the late-1980s was the “leaders” set – a small, inexpensively priced set of trading cards focusing on the best players from the prior year. These cards were smaller in size and cheaper than regular cards, but also seen as premium cards due to their glossy fronts and the better cardstock that was used to print them on. O-Pee-Chee would make a Leaders set in the 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons. Back in the day, you could a pack of five “super glossy hockey cards” for a quarter. Continue reading “Review: 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee Leaders”
Released in 1985, this set of cards highlights the career (up to that point) of New York Islanders legend Bryan Trottier. The set sponsored by the New York Islander News and, according to Beckett, was issued by the Port Washington Police Department. The card fronts show photos of Trottier from various points in his career. The back of each card, written by Trottier, feature information about the photos, as well as a drug/alcohol prevention tip. Continue reading “Review: 1985 Islander News Bryan Trottier”
The special hockey card treatment Stanley Cup-winning teams have gotten in recent years makes this Blackhawks’ fan jealous.The ‘Hawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, but no commemorative sets or arena giveaways marked the occasion. A year later, the Boston Bruins got their own 30-card commemorative set, while Los Angeles Kings fans received this 6-card giveaway during the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals.
Wow…Kings’ fans got to go to a Stanley Cup Finals game AND got a special set of hockey cards. The only thing that would make that scenario better is free nachos at the concession stand.
The cards are printed on thinner stock than normal Upper Deck hockey cards. They are devoid of gloss or foil. For a freebie, though, that really does not matter.
Six cards of the Kings’ best players during the first two rounds of the playoffs are in this set. The players included are Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and a second card of Dustin Brown. So, while this isn’t a comprehensive team set, each card has relevance.
Front Design – 3 out of 5
The design of these cards is a bit confusing. The cards have a Stanley Cup Final logo on the front, but the photos used are either from Round 1 or Round 2 of the playoffs, and not the finals.
Also confusing is that the last card in the set–the second card of team captain Dustin Brown–lacks the Stanley Cup Final logo and the little black diamonds, and instead says “Stanley Cup Memorable Moments.”
Why the last card looks different is anyone’s guess. My theory is that all the cards were originally supposed to say “Stanley Cup Memorable Moments,” but a decision was made to use the Finals logo instead.Given the fact that this set was produced rather hastily, I think the last card somehow got overlooked during production.
Back Design / Stats & Info – 3 out of 5
The design of the back of cards 1 to 5 looks very sharp. The white text against the black background is very easy to read, and explains a particular feat the pictured player accomplished in the playoffs. Below that are the player’s stats for the 2011-12 regular season and their career totals. Season stats seem unnecessary here, as the focus of this set is the playoffs.
The last card is a mess, though–black text superimposed over a gray background with the Stanley Cup ghosted behind it. It is an unnecessarily complicated design that is hard to read.
The set is a unique collectable for Kings fans who like hockey cards. Putting the Stanley Cup Final logo on cards that were given out at the Finals–but actually have nothing to do with the Finals–is a bit of a misguided design choice.
Here are images of the entire set.
SC-1 – Anze Kopitar – Kopitar is included because he scored 2 goals in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals. (back)
SC-2 – Mike Richards – He had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semis, scoring the game-winning goal. (back)
SC-3 – Jonathan Quick – The Kings ace netminder had a shutout against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 3 of the first round. (back)
SC-4 – Dustin Brown – Scored the game-winning–and series-clinching–goal against the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of the second round. (back)
SC-5 – Drew Doughty – Doughty had 1 goal and 2 assists in the third game of the Western Conference Semifinals. (back)
SC-6 – Dustin Brown – Brown scored 2 shorthanded goals against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 2 of the first round. (back)
Remembering 12 of the rival league’s greatest players
Founded in 2009, the World Hockey Association Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization that honors and remembers the defunct league and its players. In July 2010, the WHA HOF released a 10-card set commemorating 12 of the league’s former players and one trophy. Continue reading “Review: 2010 WHA Hall of Fame”
Given away in 5-card foil packs on February 21, 2009, the National Hockey Card Day set by Upper Deck focused on some of Canada’s most beloved players. Packs were handed out, free of charge, at card shops, Toys R’ Us, and Wal-Mart stores across Canada as an effort to increase interest in hockey card collecting. This is similar to Free Comic Book Day, when numerous comic books – made especially for the event – are given away at comic shops across the U.S. The 2009 National Hockey Card Day set has 15 cards: 5 are of rookies, 5 of popular current superstars and 5 of retired greats. Continue reading “Review: 2009 National Hockey Card Day”
Four times the size and almost twice the fun of regular hockey cards
Bigger is better, or so they usually say. The O-Pee-Chee Super Photos set, released in 1981, features cards that are 5″ wide by 7″ tall – four times the size of a standard hockey card. Twenty four portrait-type photographs comprise the set. As cool as these jumbo cards are, the bland, almost blank backs, leave something to be desired. Continue reading “Review: 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Super Photos”