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.
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.
Smart drafting and quality development are the two key reasons why the Chicago Blackhawks have been successful over the past half-decade. Many of the prospects that the ‘Hawks draft end up playing a season or two with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League, blossoming into NHL players. This year, the IceHogs released a new set of trading cards, which includes many players who may go on to become the newest ‘Hawks mainstays.
Every year since they joined the AHL, the IceHogs have either given away or sold in their team shop a trading card team set. And historically, the IceHogs do a great job, including practically every player and listing all of their statistics, while dressing it up in an appealing design. This year is no exception.
Considering that Upper Deck became the exclusive trading card licensee of the American Hockey League, it is a relief that teams can still produce their own sets. While Upper Deck has made two attractive sets dedicated to AHL players the past two seasons, team-issued sets are always the most comprehensive, featuring almost everyone on the team, from future NHLers to career journeymen to bubble players.
Earlier this year, the Springfield Falcons — top affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets — released a 25-card set for the 2014-15 season. It’s a colorful set that has baseball to thank for its unique, eye-catching design.
The Rockford IceHogs issued a team set of trading cards during the 2014-15 season. It was sponsored by the Rockford Register Star newspaper and features many Chicago Blackhawks prospects, such as Teuvo Teravainen and Scott Darling. The cards also have a unique design and tons of information on the back — as any good trading card should. Continue reading “Review: 2014-15 Rockford IceHogs”
To the victors goes the trading card set
When Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland scored 17 seconds apart in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals, the Blackhawks clinched the Stanley Cup. That victory also earned them a special boxed set of hockey cards from Upper Deck, commemorating the team’s second Stanley Cup in four seasons. Released at the end of July, the set contains 31 cards that no die-hard ‘Hawks fan should be without. Continue reading “Review: 2013 Upper Deck Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Box Set”
The 2012-13 Rockford IceHogs team set might just be the greatest minor league team set ever made. Consider the cool, retro design that pays homage to old time cards and the plethora of NHL talent included, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more worthwhile team set of minor league players. Continue reading “Review: 2012-13 Rockford IceHogs team set”
Nice design, two future stars, make for a worthwhile set
Not everyone who laces ’em up in the minors will make it to the NHL, but it is always cool to see the players who do at a point in their career before they become famous. For me, a minor league team set is worth picking up if it has just one player in it who goes on to NHL stardom.
The 1997-98 Springfield Falcons team set features cards of not one, but two players who would go onto NHL stardom–Shane Doan and Daniel Briere. And the design isn’t the usual over-designed nonsense of the late 1990s. Continue reading “Review: 1997-98 Springfield Falcons”
A mediocre set for a mediocre team
Before the Sharks took up residency in San Jose, there was another team by the same name. The Los Angeles Sharks – no relation to the current team in San Jose – was a founding member of the World Hockey Association (WHA). Unlike some of the luckier teams in the WHA who had the benefit of a Bobby Hull or Gordie Howe playing for them, the Sharks did not have much in the way of star power. They finished 6th out of 12 teams in 1972-73 and dead last during their second and final season. In their first year, they issued an ugly set of 19 cards. Continue reading “Review: 1972-73 Los Angeles Sharks”
Twenty-one cards from the upstart team’s first season
The World Hockey Association was founded in 1972, and placed several teams into markets that yearned to have an NHL presence. One founding member of the WHA was the Quebec Nordiques, giving the province of Quebec another team to call their own. Longtime Montreal Canadiens’ defenseman J.C. Tremblay was the Nordiques’ first captain, while a 20-year old Richard Brodeur was breaking into pro hockey as the Nords’ backup. Released during the season was a postcard set featuring the Quebec’s inaugural roster. Continue reading “Review: 1972-73 Quebec Nordiques”