Rookie Cards of Every NHL Head Coach for the 2017-18 Season

Each NHL coach followed his own unique path to get to where he is today. Some were accomplished NHL players who were immediately given a shot as an assistant coach upon retirement. Others were career minor leaguers, toiling in some of hockey’s most obscure ranks, before working their way up those ranks later on in life to finally appear in the NHL from behind the bench. Still, some never even played minor pro, hanging ’em up after junior and starting their coaching careers young. 

For the start of the 2017-18 season, I thought it would be fun to take a look at each NHL head coach’s rookie card. For you non-collectors out there, allow me to clarify something. A player’s “rookie card”, or RC for short, is generally understood as a player’s first trading card that shows him with an NHL team. Of course, there are exceptions, and sometimes what does and does not count as an RC gets a little fuzzy. However, some of these coaches never played in the NHL, or did for a very short time, so they never got a true rookie card. In those cases, I tried to show their earliest-known trading card. 

 Anaheim Ducks – Randy Carlyle

Rookie Card: 1978-79 O-Pee-Chee #312
Age in Picture: Around 22 years old. 
Fun Fact: Carlyle was traded to Pittsburgh over the summer of 1978, so O-Pee-Chee changed the team logo and added the text “Now with Penguins” to update his card. It sucks when your first-ever hockey card basically says the team that you are pictured with didn’t think you were good enough to stay with the team you are pictured with. Also, this card is tied for being the oldest card on this list. 

Arizona Coyotes – Rick Tocchet

Rookie Card: 1987-88 Topps #2 (pictured) & 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee #2
Age in Picture: Around 23 years old. 
Fun Fact: It took Tocchet three full seasons in the NHL (and 751 penalty minutes) before the card companies noticed him and deemed him worthy of a trading card. 

Boston Bruins – Bruce Cassidy

First NHL Card: 1985-86 Chicago Blackhawks Team Issue Set
Age in Picture: Around 20 years old. 
Fun Facts: Cassidy never had a mainstream rookie card (Topps, O-Pee-Chee or otherwise) during his NHL career, but he was included in the 1985-86 Blackhawks team-issued set, despite playing one game for the ‘Hawks in 1983-84 and then spending the entire 1984-85 season in junior. The ‘Hawks had high hopes for their former first round pick, but injuries limited him to just one NHL and four AHL games in 1985-86. 

Buffalo Sabres – Phil Housley

Rookie Card: 1983-84 O-Pee-Chee #65
Age in Picture: 18 or 19 years old. 
Fun Fact: This card was issued midway through Housley’s second season, when he was put at center for some games, so O-Pee-Chee listed his position as DEF/CENTER. He only played seven games at center though. 

Calgary Flames – Glen Gulutzan

First-Ever Card: 1990-91 7th Inning Sketch WHL #222
Age in Picture: 18 years old.
Fun Fact: Gulutzan never made it to “The Show,” nor was he drafted by an NHL team, so here is his earliest card from his junior hockey days.

Carolina Hurricanes – Bill Peters

First-Ever Card: 1999-2000 Spokane Chiefs #25
Age in Picture: 34 or 35 years old. 
Fun Fact: Peters never had any cards issued during his short playing career, but has appeared in several minor league team sets; this being his earliest card. 

Chicago Blackhawks – Joel Quenneville


Rookie Card: 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee #336
Age in Picture: About 20 years oldq-stache
Fun Fact: While this is Joel Quenneville’s rookie card, more importantly, it is also the rookie card of Joel Quenneville’s mustache — a.k.a. The Q-Stache — which is arguably pro sports most popular mustache. Don’t believe me? The Q-Stache has its own entry on Urban Dictionary, and a Twitter account with over 42,000 followers. (If you’ll excuse me now, I’m gonna go cry myself to sleep.)

Colorado Avalanche – Jared Bednar

bednarFirst-Ever Card: 1991-92 11 Seventh Inning Sketch WHL #11
Age in Picture: 19 years old. 
Fun Fact: Bednar grinded out a nine-year career playing minor league hockey, followed by another 14 years of coaching before getting a shot as an NHL coach. He played for three different teams — Spokane Chiefs, Medicine Hat Tigers and Prince Albert Raiders — during his final year of junior hockey.

Columbus Blue Jackets – John Tortorella

1988-89 ProCards - John Tortorella

First-Ever Card: 1988-89 ProCards New Haven Nighthawks
Age in Picture: 30 years old
Fun Facts: “Torts” only played pro in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League — a league known more for its fighting than issuing trading cards. Thus, his first card is from the awesome 1988-89 ProCards AHL/IHL set, when he was an assistant coach with the New Haven Nighthawks. The back of the card offers absolutely no information whatsoever.

Dallas Stars – Ken Hitchcock


First-Ever Card: 1984-85 Kamloops Blazers #11
Age in Picture: 33 years old.
Fun Fact: Not counting the 2004-05 NHL lockout, this is Hitchock’s 34th consecutive season as a hockey coach. Hitchcock was a head coach in the WHL from 1984 to 1990, an assistant coach in the NHL from 1990 to 1993, a head coach in the IHL from 1993 to 1996 and an NHL head coach from 1996 to now. What an awesome body of work for a guy who never even played junior hockey.

Detroit Red Wings – Jeff Blashill

First-Ever Card: None. Seriously, NONE!
Age in Picture: n/a
Fun Fact: No one has ever made a trading card of Jeff Blashill — not from his three years of playing in the USHL, nor in his four years of playing in the CCHA, or in his EIGHTEEN YEARS of coaching in the various ranks.

Edmonton Oilers – Todd McLellan

First-Ever Card: 1983-84 Saskatoon Blades Team Issue Set #14
Age in Picture: Well, the card does state on the front that he is 16.
Fun Facts: McLellan played in only five games with the Islanders, so he never had an NHL card. Funny thing is, in four years of junior hockey, two years of minor-pro hockey and 24 years of coaching at the various ranks, McLellan has exactly three hockey cards; one from juniors (pictured), one as a minor league player and one as a minor league coach. 

Florida Panthers – Bob Boughner

Rookie Card: 1996-97 Pinnacle Be A Player #178
Age in Picture: 24 or 25 years old. 
Fun Facts: This card was actually issued in three variations: a standard version, an autographed version (pictured above) and an autographed version printed on shiny silver cardstock. That makes Boughner the only coach on this list to have an autographed version (actually, two versions) of his rookie card. 

Los Angeles Kings – John Stevens

First American Hockey League Card: 1988-89 ProCards Hershey Bears
Age in Picture: 23 years old. 
Fun Facts: OK, so technically, Stevens had a card in the 1983-84 Oshawa Generals team set, but I don’t own it. So here is his second-ever card, and his first to picture him as a pro. However, what is really odd is that Stevens should have had a card issued during his NHL career, but didn’t. He played 14 games in 1990-91, 21 games in 1991-92 and 9 games in 1993-94, all with the Hartford Whalers. This was at a time when trading card companies were practically tripping over each other to be the first to picture a player on a hockey card. The fact that Stevens played 44 games in the NHL during the early 1990s and did’t get a card is pretty strange. 

Minnesota Wild – Bruce Boudreau

1978-79 O-Pee-Chee #280 - Bruce Boudreau

Rookie Card: 1978-79 O-Pee-Chee #280
Age in Picture: Around 23 years old.
Fun Facts: Boudreau appeared in 40 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1977-78, which was enough to earn him a rookie card in the following season’s O-Pee-Chee set. This card is tied with Randy Carlyle’s rookie card for being the oldest on this list. 

Montreal Canadiens – Claude Julien

1983-84 Fredericton Express #16 - Claude Julien

First-Ever Card: 1983-84 Frederiction Express #16
Age in Picture: 23 years old.
Fun Fact: Julien only played 14 games in the NHL, so he never got a proper rookie card. But he had cards in 10 different minor league team sets during his career. This is his earliest-known card.

Nashville Predators – Peter Laviolette

Rookie Cards: 1993-94 Fleer PowerPlay #508 (above) & Fleer Ultra #488
Age in Picture: 29 years old. 
Fun Fact: P-Lav played 12 games with the Rangers in 1988-89, but did not get a rookie card until the 1993-94 season, when he captained Team USA at the 1994 Winter Olympics. That year, card company Fleer included players from Team USA and Team Canada in its PowerPlay and Ultra sets. He had earlier cards in minor league team sets, but this is considered his NHL rookie card, even though he’s pictured in an Olympic jersey. Blame the price guides for the stupidity! 

New Jersey Devils – John Hynes

First-Ever Card: 2009-10 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins #28
Age in Picture: 34 years old. 
Fun Fact: Born February 10, 1975, Hynes is the youngest head coach currently in the NHL. 

New York Islanders – Doug Weight

Rookie Cards: 1991-92 Upper Deck #444 (above), Pro Set #549,
Pro Set Platinum #263, O-Pee-Chee Premier #32, Parkhurst #116, Pinnacle #310, Score American #396 & Score Canadian #286
Age in Picture: Twelve-and-a-half years old Around 20 years old. 
Fun Facts: Hands down, this is the most ridiculous rookie card on the list. Doug Weight had eight different rookie cards issued in 1991-92, but his Upper Deck rookie card is the one I decided to picture because it is just so downright out there. Knowing a good thing when they see it, Upper Deck also used a photo of Weight, Steven Rice and Tony Amonte having a little fun in the sun on the front of a checklist card. 

Too bad these guys didn’t play for the Islanders. 

New York Rangers – Alain Vigneault

1987-88 Hull Olympiques - Alain Vigneault

First-Ever Card: 1987-88 Hull Olympiques #20
Age in Picture: 26 years old.
Fun Fact: These cards were given out by the Police in the Hull area. In lieu of statistics, these had safety tips on the back. The advice on the back of Vigneault’s card, translated from French, says “Did you know that the mixture of alcohol + drugs = death!”

Ottawa Senators – Guy Boucher

First-Ever Card: 2008-09 29 Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)
Age in Picture: 38 years old. 
Fun Facts: The 2008-09 Drummondville Voltigeurs team set was made by a company called Extreme Sports Cards. Also, Boucher is sporting a pretty extreme scar on his cheek. To this day, he never told anyone how he got that scar, other than it wasn’t from playing hockey. 

Philadelphia Flyers – David Hakstol


First-Ever Card: 1992-93 Indianapolis Ice 
Age in Picture: 22 years old.
Fun Facts: Although the Indianapolis Ice were affiliated with the Chicago Blackhawks, Hakstol’s contract was one-way with the Ice. He played three seasons in Indianapolis, followed by two more with the IHL’s Minnesota Moose, before becoming the head coach of the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers in 1996-97.

Pittsburgh Penguins – Mike Sullivan

Rookie Card: 1991-92 Parkhurst #383
Age in Picture: 23 or 24 years old. 
Fun Facts: Despite playing in 64 games with the San Jose Sharks in 1991-92 — 6th most on the team — only Parkhurst bothered to make a card of Sullivan that year. The back of the card states that Sullivan “appears to be on his way towards a solid NHL career.” That turned out to be true, since he played in 709 NHL games; but even more so if you consider his back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships as the Penguins’ head coach. 

San Jose Sharks – Peter DeBoer

First-Ever Card: 1989-90 ProCards IHL #189
Age in Picture: 21 years old.
Fun Facts: DeBoer was drafted by the Maple Leafs in 1988, and traded to the Canucks in 1989, but didn’t crack the lineup for either team. His earliest card pictures him with the Milwaukee Admirals of the old International Hockey League.

St. Louis Blues – Mike Yeo

First-Ever Card: 1990-91 7th Inning Sketch OHL #396
Age in Picture: 17 years old.
Fun Facts: Yeo was never drafted by an NHL team, so here is his earliest junior-league card, which refers to him as “Michael” instead of “Mike.” Also, the card back erroneously lists his birthday as 10/31/1973 (Halloween) instead of 7/31/1973.

Tampa Bay Lightning – Jon Cooper

Second-Ever Card: 2011-12 Norfolk Admirals
Age in Picture: 44 years old. 
Fun Facts: Since I couldn’t track down Cooper’s first card, from the 2010-11 Norfolk Admirals team set, here is his second card, which has him oddly ghosted in the background. 

Toronto Maple Leafs – Mike Babcock

babcockFirst-Ever Card: 1991-92 Seventh Inning Sketch WHL #275
Age in Picture: 28 years old
Fun Fact: Mike Babcock hasn’t changed his hair style in 25 years. This card proves it.

Vancouver Canucks – Travis Green

Rookie Cards: 1992-93 Fleer Ultra #343 (above) & Parkhurst #343
Age in Picture: 22 years old. 
Fun Facts: Green had two cards issued during his rookie year. The cards were released by competing companies, but coincidentally are both number 343 in each set. 

Vegas Golden Knights – Gerard Gallant

Rookie Card: 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee #67 (above) & Topps #67
Age in Picture: 23 years old. 
Fun Facts: Like Coyotes’ head coach Rick Tocchet, who also has rookie cards in the 1987-88 Topps and O-Pee-Chee sets, Gallant played three seasons in the NHL before he was “good enough” to get a rookie card. All he had to do was lead the Red Wings in goals with 38 during the 1986-87 season. 

Washington Capitals – Barry Trotz

1981-82 Regina Pats #21 - Barry Trotz

First-Ever Card: 1981-82 Regina Pats #21
Age in Picture: 19 years old.
Fun Facts: Trotz played four years of junior hockey, but only appeared on one card during his playing days. Check out those sweet Cooperalls he’s wearing.

Winnipeg Jets – Paul Maurice

First-Ever Card: 1993-94 Detroit Jr. Red Wings #23
Age in Picture: 26 years old. 
Fun Facts: Maurice wore two hats, as both the head coach and general manager of the OHL’s Detroit Jr. Red Wings. 

So, which of these cards did you find the most interesting? Leave a comment and let me know what you think. 

Special thanks to Center Ice Collectibles for providing some of the images.

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.  ■


Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

5 thoughts on “Rookie Cards of Every NHL Head Coach for the 2017-18 Season”

  1. (1) Barry Trotz: The look on his face. Hah!

    (2) Guy Boucher: The French word “voltiguers” translates to “outfielders” in English. So there’s a hockey team named the Drummondville Outfielders?

    (3) Alain Vigneault: Sweet windbreaker, dude!

  2. I luv the old ProCards AHL and IHL sets…horrible (dark) photography, but some great pre-rookie cards! Same with the 7th Inning Sketch sets…some simply ridiculous photos were used.

  3. Nice article. Thank you. I have 2 other rookie cards to add:
    1982-83 Buffalo Sabres Milk Carton panel Phil Houseley
    1979-80 Maple Leafs Team Issued Postcard #3 Joel Quenneville

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