First Parkies set in over 25 years a mediocre offering in crowded 90’s market
The 1991-92 Parkhurst Hockey set was manufactured by now-defunct trading card company Pro Set, who was the first company to lease the Parkhurst name. Parkhurst made hockey cards from 1951 until 1964. Pro Set’s big idea was to use the name to brand another set of their own hockey cards, hoping that its nostalgic ties would help it stand out in an increasingly crowded hockey card market.
The set consisted of 475 cards, issued across three series. Released in early 1992, Series One was made up of 225 cards. Series Two, which was released at the end of the 1991-92 season, added another 225 cards to the set. What slipped under most everyone’s radar was the Final Update Set – a mail-away set comprised of 25 cards. Ironically, the update set will cost you three to four times more than what you might pay for the other 450 cards. The Final Update Set came in a small, two-part box with the Parkhurst logo on it.
Player selection 5 out of 5
Most sets from the 1990s were huge, and offered cards of almost every player. While Parkhurst was dwarfed by other sets that year (Pro Set had 615 cards, while Upper Deck topped out at 705), it still featured a lot of cards of a lot of different players. Sure, there are five different cards of Wayne Gretzky in this set, which is kind of redundant. But we still get cards of second and third line players – as well as cards of anyone who was traded during the season, wearing their new uniform.
Card design 3 out of 5
Parkhurst’s card design this season was nothing special – featuring a band with a marble-like texture and player name as well as the green Parkhurst logo. The majority of the cards are vertical, with the band running along the left edge. This makes the card feel, for the most part, very congested – as if something important is getting cropped out. For close -up photos, the layout looks OK. For any photo involving two or more players in the shot, things start to feel a bit tight.
A good number of the cards use a horizontal format instead of a vertical format. This usually annoys me – I’d prefer that a company go with one or the other, for consistency. In this case, I wish the entire set was done in the horizontal format. Here, the marble band runs at the bottom of the card, and the logo feels more integrated into the design and not just “stuck on”. What makes the horizontal cards so nice, though, is the quality of photos used. Most of the horizontal cards use a game-action photograph, showing a player in the thick of competition, making the card much more interesting. Or, it might just be a photo of the player skating with the puck, but the extra “room” in front of (and sometimes behind) the player help give a feel of movement, as we can see where the player has been and where he’s going. Had this set entirely been made up of horizontal, game action photos, it would have hands-down been my favorite set of that season.
Stats & info 5 out of 5
All the goods are here – from personal info (height, weight, birth date, when they were drafted) to complete yearly stats. Yes, complete stats! While Topps and O-Pee-Chee were always good at giving us year-by year stats, the newer companies (Upper Deck, Score and Pro Set), would only show one or a few years of statistics. Pro Set got it right here, as all Parkhurst Series One cards have complete stats up to and including 1990-91. Series Two – which was released after the regular season ended – did something a bit strange, showing all of the players’ 1991-92 stats as well. I always find it a bit disorienting when a set of cards from a certain year has statistics for that very same year.
One drawback to the back of the cards is the Parkhurst logo that appears behind the text and statistics, which makes the information somewhat hard to read.
Oh yes, there are subsets. How can a card company get away with making more than one card of Wayne Gretzky or Brett Hull? By making cards of All-Stars, Stats Leaders, 500 career goal scorers, etc. and so forth – that’s how.
Series One includes a ten card “1000 Point Club” subset, a six card “Frequent All-Star” subset and two “Statistical Leaders” cards.
Series Two features a four card “500 Goal Club” subset, 11 more “Statistical Leaders” cards and eight “Rookie Leaders” cards.
The Final Update Set features seven cards summarizing the 1991-92 Stanley Cup Playoffs, eight “Award Winners” cards of players who won trophies during the ’91-92 season and six “All-Star Team” cards. Rounding out the Final Update Set are three more rookie cards – the most significant being Bill Guerin – and a checklist.
While there are over 50 rookie cards in this set, the only one that will run you a few bucks is Bill Guerin (shown above; click here to see card back). As I mentioned earlier, the Final Update Set was a mail-away offer, so it was not produced in the same quantities as the other 450 cards from Series One and Series Two.
Series One and Series Two cards were available in both English versions and French versions. The Final Update Set was produced in English only.
The 1991-92 Parkhurst set is middle of the pack…maybe a bit better than a team who barely makes the playoffs, but not as exciting as a team who clinches first place. There are better sets from that era to spend your money on, though the first 450 cards really won’t cost you that much should you decide to buy them. The Final Update set will cost you more, but really isn’t all that worthwhile in of itself.
BONUS: Top 5 photographs
There are quite a few great photos in this set. Here are five that really stood out to me.
55 – Esa Tikkanen – The consummate pest / shadow of the 1990s, here Tikkanen skates around the net with the puck. The photo really benefits from the horizontal layout. (back)
106 – Pierre Turgeon – Now that’s what I’m talking about! Turgeon puts on the breaks as he stickhandles around a Kings defender. (back)
127 – Brad Jones skates with the puck as a Nordiques defender attempts to intercept. (back)
139 – Tom Barrasso makes a save at the edge of his crease. (back)
255 – Ray LeBlanc – Back during the 1992 Winter Olympics, LeBlanc briefly became a national hero as he almost single-handedly carried Team USA to the Medal Round. He subsequently appeared in one NHL game, shown here. (back)
DOUBLE OVERTIME BONUS: Worst 5 photographs
A lot of the pictures in this set were lame, too. These five are the worst.
112 – Tom Kurvers – Wow. He’s on his knees, falling into the net and onto his own goalie. Plus, you see the back of his head. At least we can see the puck. (back)
140 – Paul Coffey – One of the fastest skaters to play hockey, this card looks more like a match from the Ultimate Fighting Championship than it does an old Patrick Division matchup. (back)
157 – Brett Hull – The guy scored a lot of goals, and yet the photo selected for “The Golden Brett” is one of him being hooked from behind. Borrrring! (back)
190 – Randy Burridge – I can’t tell if he’s skating into that Flyer’s elbow, if the Flyer is checking him or if the two miss each other completely. Any way you look at it, this is a lame picture. (back)
296 – A great photo of John McIntyre falling down. (back)
475 card set
– Series One: 225 cards
– Series Two: 225 cards
– Final Update: 25 cards
Card size: 2 1/2″ wide x 3 1/2″ tall
Click here to download a printable checklist