This is one of my all-time favorite hockey card photographs. On the front of his 1991-92 Upper Deck “Star Rookies” card, Felix Potvin is shown hoisting the trophy he won as the MVP of the 1991 QMJHL playoffs. Everything about this photo is excellent, from the elated look on Potvin’s face as he proudly hoists the trophy, to the crowd of cheering people who have flooded onto the ice behind him.This picture successfully captures a moment in time.
It also succeeds in explaining why Potvin is a “Star Rookie” without saying a word. We don’t even need to read the text on the back of the card. Using this picture was a great choice by Upper Deck, and says more about Potvin than a staid draft day photo or a shot from Maple Leafs’ training camp. But Upper Deck wasn’t the first company to use this picture on a hockey card.
In their 1991 Memorial Cup Set the previous season, card company Seventh Inning Sketch used the same photograph of Potvin on a card titled “M.V.P.”
This card uses a less-cropped version of the photograph which includes more of the crowd on the right and, I’m assuming, the QMJHL commissioner on the left — or whoever handed the trophy to Potvin. The back briefly states “Felix Potvin is awarded the trophy for Most Valuable Player.”
The colors on the Upper Deck card are brighter. Not surprising, since Upper Deck used a then-revolutionary color separation process for trading cards, while many photos on Seventh Inning Sketch cards were over or underexposed. Still, the darker photo on the Memorial Cup card tells us a bit more about that moment in time. ■