Thirty years ago, the 1988-89 hockey season was winding down. Wayne Gretzky was in his first season with the Los Angeles Kings, while the Calgary Flames would go on to win their first Stanley Cup Championship. Hockey legends Marcel Dionne and Lanny McDonald retired at the end of the season, while Guy Lafleur successfully started his three-year comeback.
It was also a simpler time for hockey card collectors. There were only two mainstream hockey sets to collect — Topps and O-Pee-Chee — and there were not yet any Eric Lindros cards for speculators to hoard. In fact, the word “hockey cards” and “investments” weren’t even uttered in the same sentence back then.
The 1988-89 season was also when I first discovered hockey — and thus started collecting hockey cards. So, here is a look at the 10 best hockey cards from the 1988-89 season. These are not necessarily the most valuable or most-rare hockey cards from that year; rather, these are cards that have significance and should be in any serious hockey card collection.
This week’s Blake’s Takes dives into Matt Duchene’s run in Ottawa and the impact of both trades. I also take a look into the hit that earned Connor McDavid his first suspension and another jersey retirement ceremony.
Thirty years ago, in the summer of 1988, Wayne Gretzky was traded to the L.A. Kings. While no move made during this offseason could ever top that, some NHL GMs were nonetheless working on blockbuster deals of their own. Here are the five biggest moves of the 2018 offseason.
Over 40 years ago, the Los Angeles King mailed a little love to their fans. The team sent out this page of facsimile autographs during the 1973-74 season. The standard letter-sized page was neatly typed out, autographed by 21 players in marker, photocopied, folded into thirds and mailed in a business-size envelope. At the top, it reads” BEST WISHES FROM THE LOS ANGELES KINGS.”
Before I begin this book review, it is necessary to disclose that I never liked Sean Avery during his NHL career. At the same time, I tried my best to have an open mind and be fair when reading his autobiography; what I think of the man should have no bearing on whether or not his book is entertaining or worth reading.
Also, note that Avery’s book goes by two different titles. In the U.S., where he spent his entire NHL career, his book is called “Ice Capades: A Memoir of Fast Living and Tough Hockey,” while in Canada it is called “Offside: My Life Crossing the Line.” The covers vary slightly, but the book is otherwise the same. However, the Canadian title seems more fitting, as Avery was one to push boundaries on and off the ice.
“Ice Capades,” a.k.a. “Offside” — which I will herein refer to as “Avery’s book” — is co-authored by Micheal McKinley, who previously wrote “Hockey: A People’s History” and “Hockey Night in Canada: 60 Seasons.” Avery prefaces his memoir by stating that it is not his intention to change readers’ opinion of him. But reading his book might just soften your opinion on — as Avery calls himself — hockey’s most-famous third-line player.
August 9, 1988 was arguably the single most important day in hockey history. On that day, the biggest trade in professional sports took place when the Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings. Here, the best player in his sport was traded at the height of his career. Gretzky’s trade changed hockey forever. “Kings Ransom,” an ESPN documentary directed by Peter Berg, recounts that fateful day and the events that led up to it.
Unfortunately, “Kings Ransom,” released in 2009, is not the documentary that I hoped for. It tries so hard to be dramatic and doesn’t say anything that hasn’t already been said.
The Los Angeles King gave a collectible holiday greeting card to their season ticket holders in December of 1992. How do we know that it is collectible? Because it has the Upper Deck logo and a serial number. In your face, Hallmark!
By the way, I should start serial-numbering all of the Christmas cards that I send out so that people save them for future collectibility and/or investment value. Of course, that would mean that I would have to actually send out Christmas cards in the first place.
Anyway, the front of the card shows a group of Kings celebrating a win at the old Great Western Forum. Robb Stauber (#35) looks eager to mess up fellow goalie Kelly Hrudey’s hair some more, as if that was possible. But the other side of the card is way better. It has a detailed illustration of Continue reading “1992 Los Angeles Kings Holiday Card”
Bailey, team mascot of the Los Angeles Kings, is a cool cat. One minute, we were talking about hockey cards on Twitter. The next moment, he offered to send me some cards that I needed to help finish my set. This is the first time a team mascot has given me anything besides the creeps. Continue reading “A Regal Lion Gave Me Some Cards”
Action speaks louder than words. Upper Deck took that meaning to heart when they started making hockey cards in 1990. This card you see here, of Los Angeles Kings backup goaltender Mario Gosselin, was one of many cards that demonstrated that Upper Deck was serious about becoming the best hockey card company out there, with their blend of high quality products and exciting action photography. Continue reading “Great Save, Great Shot”
One day while thumbing through my extra hockey cards, I came across this odd card – 1979-1980 Topps #63, Dale McCourt. This card featured McCourt in his L.A. Kings Jersey.
However, Dale McCourt was never a member of the L.A. Kings. And yet, this card clearly shows him as one. The back of the card even says “AQUIRED: Awarded from Red Wings”. But later cards never mentioned him playing for the Kings. Intrigued, I did some research, only to find that McCourt’s place of employment was, in the end, determined in a year-long legal battle. Continue reading “Card of the Week: King for a Day”