Review: 1989-90 Topps Hockey

1989-90 Topps #156 - Wayne Gretzky

It was the end of an era as we knew it. Actually, it was the end of several eras. The 1989-90 Topps Hockey set marked the last time that Topps was the only game in town when it came to hockey cards in the U.S. It was the fourth, and final, year in a row that Topps issued a 198-card hockey set. And it was the last time Topps would crudely alter photographs of players who were traded over the summer.

At a glance:
– 1989-90 Topps Hockey
– 198 cards
– Size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Download checklist

If any set could represent the end of an era, it was this one.

Next year, the marketplace would expand, Topps would be overshadowed by newer companies making slicker products, and hockey card sets would balloon to upwards of 500 cards each.

So, let’s take a look back at 1989-90 Topps Hockey, and long for the days when a collector could build an entire set from only one box of cards.

Continue reading “Review: 1989-90 Topps Hockey”

Puck Junk Podcast #7 – July 8, 2015

…with your hosts, Sal Barry and Tim Parish.

Player not working? Listen to the podcast on SoundClloud.

Now that the NHL season is over, Sal (@PuckJunk) and Tim (@TheRealDFG) talk about one of their favorite sets of hockey cards: 1971-72 Topps (and O-Pee-Chee). They also touch on the 2001-02 Topps Retro Hockey set, which used the 1971-72 design. Runtime is a (relatively short) 22 minutes. Pictures of the cards they discuss after the jump.

Continue reading “Puck Junk Podcast #7 – July 8, 2015”

1985-86 Topps Hockey Sell Sheet

1985-86 Topps Hockey Sell SheetThis 8.5″ x 11″ sell sheet was used to solicit the “Limited 165 picture card series” of 1985-86 Topps Hockey to retailers. Unlike the sell sheet used in 1981-82, this one uses four colors (black, blue, red and light blue) instead of just red and blue. It also gave a sneak peek at a new feature for Topps in ’85-86. Continue reading “1985-86 Topps Hockey Sell Sheet”

Review: 1993-94 Stadium Club All-Stars

46 greats from the ’93 All-Star Game

1993-94 Stadium Club All-Stars - Wayne Gretzky
The 44th NHL All-Star Game, held at Montreal Forum on February 6 of 1993, was the end of an era for the league’s annual best-vs-best game. This was the last time the Wales Conference and Campbell Conference would square off; next season, they were renamed the Eastern Conference and Western Conferences, respectively. It was also the last time the All-Star Game uniforms would feature the familiar black, white and orange palette that had been the game’s color scheme since 1973.

1993-94 Stadium Club All-Stars - Mario Lemieux
Mario Lemieux

The 1993-94 Stadium Club Hockey set featured a striking, 23-card insert set dedicated to the 1993 All-Star Game. The cards were seeded 1 in every 24 packs of Series One. One side of each card had a portrait of a Campbell Conference All-Star; the other side, his Wales Conference counterpart. Its combination of great players, good portraits and a timeless design makes for a cool insert set worth owning.  Continue reading “Review: 1993-94 Stadium Club All-Stars”

Review: 2003-04 Topps Lost Rookies

What if Topps didn’t always play it safe?

2003-04 Topps Lost Rookies #LRC-JS - Joe Sakic

What if Topp was not such a boring company when it came to hockey cards in the 1980s? While Topps made epic-sized, 792 card baseball sets that featured practically every player on a team, including bit players and first round draft picks before they even suited up for a game, their hockey sets were seriously lacking,

In that decade, Topps hockey sets were not much bigger than most non-sports sets, sometimes weighing in at a scant 165 cards. That is, if they even bothered to make a hockey set at all.

2003-04 Topps Lost Rookies #LRC-ML - Mario LemieuxThose of us who started collecting hockey in the 1980s will remember when NHL players had to EARN a rookie card. While some exceptional players in the 1960s and 1970s got rookie cards during their rookie season–like Bobby Orr and Guy Lafleur–the 1980s were a different story. A player had to play a full season before they were granted cardboard. Even Mario Lemieux, who rewrote the record books in junior hockey and was drafted first overall, had to play in the NHL for a year before getting a card.

In 2003-04, Topps released an insert set called The Lost Rookies. Found 1 in every 12 packs of Topps Hockey, The Lost Rookies is a “what if” set that depicts 11 superstars on cards from their rookie year–such as Lemieux on a 1984-85 Topps card or Joe Sakic in the 1988-89 set. It is a very cool idea, and a great set for anyone who enjoyed hockey in the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s.

Continue reading “Review: 2003-04 Topps Lost Rookies”

Review: 1987-88 Topps Hockey

Robitaille and Oates stand out in this sleeper set.

1987-88 OPC #15 - Mario LemieuxDuring the 1986-87 season, Topps increased its hockey set from 165 cards to 198 cards. This year continued the trend of 198 cards, as that seemed to be a comfortable number of cards for Topps to handle. Hockey cards were not popular in the United States in the 1980s – remember, there were no Topps hockey card sets for 1982-83 or 1983-84. So, it would not make sense to make their hockey sets as large as say, their annual Football set, which was usually around 396 cards. Continue reading “Review: 1987-88 Topps Hockey”

Review: 1981-82 Topps Hockey

The set with a split personality.

1981-82 Topps #11 - Tony Esposito

At a glance:
– 1981-82 Topps Hockey
– 198 cards
— 66 nationally-distributed cards (1-66)
— 66 “East” cards (67-132)
— 66 “West” cards (67-132)
– Size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Download Checklist

Featuring a very cool design, the 1981-82 Topps Hockey set was an odd release. Topps’ gimmick from the previous season–the “scratch off puck” to reveal the player’s name–was mercifully not repeated. Instead, Topps resorted to a much different ploy–regional distribution. Continue reading “Review: 1981-82 Topps Hockey”