Nice design, two future stars, make for a worthwhile set
Not everyone who laces ’em up in the minors will make it to the NHL, but it is always cool to see the players who do at a point in their career before they become famous. For me, a minor league team set is worth picking up if it has just one player in it who goes on to NHL stardom.
The 1997-98 Springfield Falcons team set features cards of not one, but two players who would go onto NHL stardom–Shane Doan and Daniel Briere. And the design isn’t the usual over-designed nonsense of the late 1990s.
Player Selection 5 out of 5
Minor league team sets try hard to include everyone, which I always found to be one of their more appealing aspects. There is no “I” in “TEAM,” and though every team has its best players, you need to suit up 20 guys to play a game. The ’97-98 Falcons set has cards of 22 players as well as Head Coach Dave Farrish and Assistant Coach Ron Wilson.
Front Design 4 out of 5
Cards of the mid-to-late 1990s always irked me because they had too much going on: wacky fonts, drop shadows, motion blurs, gradients, multiple photos on the front, foil, gloss and/or neon colors. (The awful design of the Cleveland Lumberjacks set from 1999-00 still makes me a little queasy.)
But the 1997-98 Springfield Indians set is different. A motion blur is utilized on the background of each players’ photo, which gives the cards an exciting look and draws your eye to the in-focus player. The bottom of each card has a logo, player name, position and “AHL 1997,” all tied together with a yellow “swoosh.” The sponsor logo and player’s number–both barely a whisper–are tucked in the upper-right corner.
Other than the large, blue “AHL 1997”–which would have made more sense if it read “FALCONS 1997”–this set is better-dressed than most minor-league team sets of the era.
Stats & Info / Back Design 4 out of 5
The back of each card has a very non-traditional layout. Stats like height, width and birthdate–which are usually small–are given prominence and take up more than half of the card. On the right side, the past 3 seasons of a player’s stats are displayed. Interesting that the stats are perpendicular–and not parallel–to the rest of the data on the back of the card.
Because the back of each card isn’t jam-packed with data, the end result looks nice. You almost enjoy the look of these because they are so different than the norm. The silver and black ink add to the cool factor, too.
Here are cards of 5 men who had notable careers in the NHL.
Chad Kilger – Kilger played 714 games in the NHL in a career that spanned 15 seasons. (back)
Trevor Letowski – He played 8 seasons in the NHL and another 2 in the Kontinential League in Russia. (back)
Ron Wilson – Prior to his tenure as assistant coach for the Springfield Falcons, Wilson spent 16 years in the NHL, scoring 326 points in 832 games. (back)
Shane Doan – Doan played 39 games in the AHL during the 1997-98 season–his only time in the minors over the past 16 years. (back)
Daniel Briere – Briere scored 92 points in 68 games for the Falcons in 1997-98 and was named the AHL’s rookie of the year. (back)
26 card set
– 24 Falcons cards
– 1 PHPA advertisement card
– 1 AHL website advertisement card
Card Size: 2 1/2″ wide x 3 1/2″ tall
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