1996-97 Leaf Limited card #86 – Jeremy Roenick
During the summer of 1996, the Chicago Blackhawks made one of their worst trades in the decade – hell, in their history – when they sent fan-favorite Jeremy Roenick to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Alexi Zhamnov, Craig Mills and a first round draft pick. As a result, the Blackhawks became a downright abysmal team for the next 12 years. Another downside was this cheesy, tacky card of Roenick straddling a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Note the manly tassels hanging from the handlebars.
For reasons unknown, player-on-motorcycle photos were a surprisingly common occurence in hockey card sets in the 1990s. In the 1992-93 Stadium Club set, Rob Zettler was pictured riding a hog. I could name a few others, but those no doubt will be the subject of future articles. However, the fact that the Leaf Limited set was printed on shiny foil stock makes this Roenick card the worst “motorcycle” card of them all.
The back shows JR sporting a stylin’ sweater and jacket, leading me to believe that Leaf did not have a photo of him in a ‘Yotes jersey. The Coyotes were a new team that year – having relocated from Winnipeg over the summer – and Leaf used photos of other Phoenix players taken early that season. Roenick missed 10 games in 1996-97. If I remember correctly, he was out the start of the year. Thus, no game action shots of him, resulting in the use of these offbeat photos. Either that, or Leaf was just intent to make Roenick’s card an awful one. Had Roenick remained with the Blackhawks, Leaf could have just used an awesome game-action photo of him lighting the lamp, instead of this awesomely-bad photo of him trying to look cool.
The only way this card could have been worse is if Roenick was sitting on the motorcycle WHILE wearing one of those horrendous first-year Coyotes jersey.