Remembering 12 of the rival league’s greatest players
Founded in 2009, the World Hockey Association Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization that honors and remembers the defunct league and its players. In July 2010, the WHA HOF released a 10-card set commemorating 12 of the league’s former players and one trophy.
Player selection 4 out of 5
The set highlights 11 WHA Hall of Fame members, one non-member and the Avco World Trophy. WHA stalwarts Pat Stapleton, Ron Grahame, Andre Lacroix, Joe Daley, Robbie Ftorek and Al Smith get their own cards. Superstars Mark and Marty Howe are featured together on one card, while the “Hot Line” of Bobby Hull, Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg are shown together on the set’s only horizontal card.
Interestingly, goaltender Paul Hoganson also has a card in this set – the first and only hockey card ever made of the 5-year pro. (Better late than never, right?) Hoganson is not in the WHA Hall of Fame, but did win the longest game in WHA history.
Sadly, Gordie Howe is omitted from this set due to contractual reasons. Currently, only Upper Deck can produce cards with his likeness. And though he only played one season in the league, a Wayne Gretzky card – either with the Edmonton Oilers or from his 8-game stint with the Indianapolis Racers – would have put this set over the top. But more Hall of Fame sets are planned, so hopefully those two will appear in a future release.
Front Design 5 out of 5
Simple, effective…dare I say old school? Full-color photos are surrounded by white borders, while blue and red stripes at the top and “swooshes” at the bottom add a dash of color and motion. Some of the photos look a bit grainy or fuzzy, but that is acceptable given that many of these shots are over 35 years old.
The only drawback is the WHA logo itself, which “floats” over the photograph instead of anchoring off in a corner. The problem with this is that it covers up some of the photograph. Granted, it does not obscure anything important – but these are old, rare photos, and the more we see of them the better.
Back design / stats & info 5 out of 5
Anyone who grew up watching the WHA will appreciate the information on the back of each card. A black-and-white headshot accompanies biographical information (height, weight, DOB, etc.) as well as a summary of their career. Only one line of stats is given – showing only their WHA totals – but that’s OK because numbers don’t always tell the story.
The set is only available for online purchase. It can be bought at the WHA HOF site for
$19.95 plus $4 shipping $10 plus $5 shipping (as of 2012).
Sure, the set lacks Gordie Howe, and
$24 $15 is a bit steep for a 10-card set. But so what? Spend that on a “blaster box” or two, and you probably won’t get 10 cards as cool as these. The set has cards of some great players and gives us a rare look at a bygone era. With hockey cards being a bit bland over the past 5 years, it is refreshing to see the release of a small, grass-roots set like this.
Five cards that I found particularly interesting:
7 – Al Smith – Great shot of the eccentric WHA netminder.
6 – Robbie Ftorek – Grainy photo on the front looks like a screen grab from an old VHS tape, though it is still cool to see some game action.
10 – The Winnipeg Hotline – Cards showcasing an offensive line are a unique touch The front shows a photo of Bobby Hull, Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson, while the back shows their combined statistics for the 4 years they played together.
9 – Paul Hoganson – The back of the card reads “…this is his first-ever hockey card.” There’s something oddly postmodern about a hockey card being self-referential.
1 – The Avco World Trophy -The light reflecting off of the cup and the out-of-focus background gives an air of mystique, making this the nicest photo of a trophy I’ve ever seen.
10 card set
Card size: 2 1/2″ wide x 3 1/2″ tall
Click here to download a printable checklist