Rookie Cards of Every NHL Head Coach for the 2020-21 Season

Although head coaches are an important part of an NHL team, they are usually not included in most hockey card sets. So while Upper Deck may never make a card of John Tortorella — snarling at a referee from behind the bench — that doesn’t mean he wasn’t on a hockey card once upon a time. All of the 31 men who are NHL head coaches played hockey at one time or another in their lives — so that usually means they’ve appeared on at least one hockey card. 

For the past four years, I’ve managed to track down a rookie card for each and every NHL coach who had one. For you non-collectors out there, a “rookie card” is usually understood as that player’s first card in a mainstream set, like Topps, O-Pee-Chee or Upper Deck. 


Check out the best Hockey Rookie Cards on Gold Card Auctions


However, because many NHL head coaches never actually played in the NHL — or if they did, it wasn’t very long — they never got an official rookie card. In those cases, I show off that coach’s first-ever trading card, be it from their minor or junior league playing days, or from a little-known team-issued set. 

As a bonus, I’ve also indicated the value (in US $) and how rare each card is, on a scale of ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ to ★ ★ ★ ★ ★. Some of these cards are ridiculously-easy to find — I’m looking at you, Rod Brind’Amour —  while others are tough. 

So, kick back and enjoy this trip down memory lane, when these bench bosses weighed less and got paid less, but had more hair.

Anaheim Ducks: Dallas Eakins

Rookie Card: 1997-98 Pinnacle Be A Player #86
Average Value: 50 cents (standard version)
$3 (autographed version)
$5 (silver autographed version)
$10 (prismatic die-cut autographed version)
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ (standard)
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ (autographed)
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ (silver autographed version
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆  (prismatic die-cut autographed version)
Age in Picture: Assuming that this photo was taken during Eakins’ second stint with the Panthers in 1997-98, he is 30 years old.
Age Today: 53 years old.
Fun Facts: Eakins made his NHL debut in February of 1993, but didn’t get a rookie card until 1997-98. In his first six years in the NHL, he played with the Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, Jets (again), Phoenix Coyotes, New York Rangers and Panthers (again). He’d also play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Islanders and Calgary Flames. Talk about a journey, man!
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Edmonton Oilers (2013-14 & 2014-15); Anaheim Ducks (2019 to present).

Arizona Coyotes:  Rick Tocchet

Rookie Card: 1987-88 Topps #2 (above) & O-Pee-Chee #2
Average Value: $2 (Topps) and $4 (O-Pee-Chee)
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 
Age in Picture: Around 23 years old.
Age Today: 56 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.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Tampa Bay Lightning (2008-09 & 2009-10); Arizona Coyotes (2017-18 to present).

Boston Bruins: Bruce Cassidy

First NHL Card: 1985-86 Chicago Blackhawks Team Issue Set
Average Value: $3 to $5
Rarity: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Age in Picture: Around 20 years old.
Age Today: 55 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. This particular card is very difficult to find. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Washington Capitals (2002-03 & 2003-04); Boston Bruins (2016-17 to present).

Buffalo Sabres: Ralph Kruger

Rookie Card: He doesn’t have one.
Average Value: n/a
Rarity: n/a
Age in Picture: n/a
Age Today: 61 years old.
Fun Fact: Krueger coached in Switzerland for 13 years, and appeared on a few hockey stickers. But not one single hockey card. Come on, Sabres! Put out a set of cards and include the coaches, just so Ralph can finally get a card! 
NHL Head Coaching Experience:
Edmonton Oilers (2010-11 to 2012-13); Buffalo Sabres (2019-20 to present).

Calgary Flames: Geoff Ward

Second-Ever Card: 1995-96 Slapshot OHL #155
Average Value: 50 cents to $1
Rarity: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture:  About 33 years old. 
Age Today: 58 years old.
Fun Fact: This is actually Ward’s second-ever hockey card; his first was in the 1994-95 Kitchener Rangers team-issued set, which was also made by Slapshot. He was also a coach then, so I can’t imagine that card being any more — or less — exciting than this one. Until I own that card, you’ll just have to settle for looking at Ward’s second card. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Calgary Flames (2019-20 to present). 

Carolina Hurricanes: Rod Brind’Amour

Rookie Cards: 1990-91 Bowman #23, O-Pee-Chee #332, Pro Set #259 (above), Score American #131, Score Canadian #131, Topps #332, Upper Deck #36 & Upper Deck French #36
Average Value: $1 for his Upper Deck RC — and that might be pushing it — and 25 cents each for the others.
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 19 years old.
Age Today:  50 years old.
Fun Fact: Brind’Amour’s rookie cards came out during the 1990-91 season, and were so overproduced that they have virtually no value today.
Previous NHL Head Coaching Experience: Carolina Hurricanes (2019-20 to present).

Chicago Blackhawks: Jeremy Colliton

Rookie Cards: 2005-06 Artifacts #299, Beehive #157, Black Diamond #261,
Hot Prospects #250, Ice #203, Parkhurst #644, SP Game Used #224,
The Cup #166 (pictured), Trilogy #280, Ultimate Collection #158, Upper Deck #481, and Rookie Update #247 — plus parallel and variant versions of many of these cards.
Average Value: Most are $1-$2. If the RC has an autograph, then it sells in the $3-$5 range. His RC from The Cup (shown above) can sell for $15-$20.
Rarity: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (The Cup rookie card)
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ (RCs with autographs)
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ (other RCs)
Age in Picture: 20 years old.
Age Today: 36 years old.
Fun Fact: Colliton is by far the youngest head coach on this list, and is the only coach with an NHL rookie card that features both an autograph AND a piece of jersey patch. For that reason, his rookie card is the most-valuable card on this list. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience:
Chicago Blackhawks (2018-19 to present).

Colorado Avalanche: Jared Bednar

bednarFirst-Ever Card: 1991-92 11 Seventh Inning Sketch WHL #11
Average Value: 50 cents
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 19 years old.
Age Today: 48 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.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Colorado Avalanche (2016-17 to present).

Columbus Blue Jackets: John Tortorella

1988-89 ProCards - John Tortorella

First-Ever Card: 1988-89 ProCards New Haven Nighthawks
Average Value: $1
Rarity: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 30 years old.
Age Today: 62 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.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: New York Rangers (1999-2000, as an interim head coach); Tampa Bay Lightning (2000-01 to 2007-08); New York Rangers (2008-09 to 2012-13); Vancouver Canucks (2013-14); Columbus Blue Jackets (2015-16 to present).

Dallas Stars: Rick Bowness

Rookie Card: 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee #265
Average Value: $2
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 21 or 22 years old. 
Age Today: 66
Fun Fact: Bowness was traded from the Atlanta Flames to the Detroit Red Wings prior to the start of the 1977-78 season, so O-Pee-Chee added the text “Now with Red Wings” on Bowness’ first-ever card. It sucks when you are “traded” on your own rookie card. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Winnipeg Jets (1988-89); Boston Bruins (1991-92), Ottawa Senators (1992-93 to 1995-96); New York Islanders (1996-97 to 1997-98); Phoenix Coyotes (2003-04); Dallas Stars (2019-20 to present). 

Detroit Red Wings: Jeff Blashill

First-Ever Card: 2017 By Cards IIHF World Championships Team USA #25
Average Value: $2
Rarity: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Age in Picture: 43 years old.
Age Today: 47 years old.
Fun Fact:  When I wrote about the rookie cards for every NHL coach for the 2017-18 season, Blashill did not have a card. Since then, a company in Europe called By Cards made a set of trading cards for the 2017 IIHF World Championships, and included Blashill, who coached Team USA. This is his first card after seven years of playing (three years junior and four years college) and 19 years of coaching. It took forever, but Blashill finally got a card.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Detroit Red Wings (2015-16 to present).

Edmonton Oilers: Dave Tippett

1986-87 Topps #148 - Dave Tippett

Rookie Cards: 1986-87 Topps #148 (above) and O-Pee-Chee #148
Average Value:  50 cents
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: About 25 years old.
Age Today: 59 years old.
Fun Fact: Tippett didn’t get a rookie card until his fourth season in the NHL. He made his debut at the end of the 1983-84 season, then played 80 games in 1984-85 and another 80 games in 1985-86 before finally getting an RC in the 1986-87 sets. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience:
Dallas Stars (2002-03 to 2008-09); Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes (2009-10 to 2016-17); Edmonton Oilers (2019-20 to present).

Florida Panthers: Joel Quenneville

Rookie Card: 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee #336
Average Value: $2 to $3
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: About 20 years old.
Age Today: 62 years old.q-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 39,000 followers. (If you’ll excuse me now, I’m gonna go cry myself to sleep.)
NHL Head Coaching Experience: St. Louis Blues (1996-97 to 2003-04); Colorado Avalanche (2005-06 to 2007-08); Chicago Blackhawks (2008-09 to 2018); Florida Panthers (2019-20 to present). 

Los Angeles Kings: Todd McLellan

First-Ever Card: 1983-84 Saskatoon Blades Team Issue Set #14
Average Value: $1 to $2
Rarity: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: Well, the card does state on the front that he is 16.
Age Today: 53 years old.
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 25 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.
Previous NHL Head Coaching Experience: San Jose Sharks (2008-09 to 2014-15); Edmonton Oilers (2015-16 to 2018-19); Los Angeles Kings (2019-20 to present).

Minnesota Wild: Dean Evason

Rookie Cards: 1987-88 Topps #166 & O-Pee-Chee #166 (pictured)
Average Value: 50 cents to $1
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 22 years old 
Age Today: 56 years old
Fun Facts: Evason was the captain of the Canadian National Team during the 1997 World Championships. The team won the gold medal. He has been involved in coaching for more than 20 years, though this is his first stint as an NHL head coach. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Minnesota Wild (2019-20 to present)

Montreal Canadiens: Claude Julien

1983-84 Fredericton Express #16 - Claude Julien

First-Ever Card: 1983-84 Frederiction Express #16
Average Value: $1
Rarity: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 23 years old.
Age Today: 60 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.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Montreal Canadiens (2002-03 to 2005-06); New Jersey Devils (2006-07); Boston Bruins (2007-08 to 2016-17); Montreal Canadiens (2016-17 to present).

Nashville Predators: John Hynes

First-Ever Card: 2009-10 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins #28
Average Value: $2
Rarity: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 34 years old.
Age Today: 45 years old.
Fun Facts: When Hynes was hired by the Devils, he was, at the time, the youngest head coach in the NHL. He played college hockey at Boston University for four years, and participated in four straight Frozen Four tournaments.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: New Jersey Devils (2015-16 to 2019-20); Nashville Predators (2019-20 to present).

New Jersey Devils: Lindy Ruff

Rookie Card: 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee #319
Average Value: $1
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 19 or 20 years old
Age Today: 60 years old
Fun Facts: Even though Ruff was a regular in the NHL from 1979-80 to 1989-90, he only had mainstream hockey cards issued every other year during his career: 1980-81, 1982-83, 194-85, 1986-87, 1988-89 and 1990-91. Ruff has coached in the NHL — either as an assistant or a head coach — for every year since 1993-94. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Buffalo Sabres (1997-98 to 2012-13); Dallas Stars (2013-14 to 2016-17); New Jersey Devils (2020-21)

New York Islanders: Barry Trotz

1981-82 Regina Pats #21 - Barry Trotz

First-Ever Card: 1981-82 Regina Pats #21
Average Value: $1 to $2
Rarity: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 19 years old.
Age Today: 58 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.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Nashville Predators (1999-2000 to 2013-14); Washington Capitals (2014-15 to 2017-18); New York Islanders (2018-19 to present).

New York Rangers: David Quinn

First-Ever Card: 1992-93 Cleveland Lumberjacks #9
Average Value:
$1
Rarity: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 26 years old.
Age Today: 54 years old.
Fun Fact: In three years of playing college, two years of playing minor pro and 19 years of coaching at the various ranks, this is actually the only trading card of Quinn ever made.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: New York Rangers (2018-19 to present).

Ottawa Senators: D.J. Smith

Rookie Cards: 1997-98 Donruss #206, Donruss Canadian Ice #142 (pictured), Donruss Limited #37 & Upper Deck #194
Average Value: 25 cents
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: Around 20 years old.
Age Today: 43 years old.
Fun Fact: Smith played 8 games for the Maple Leafs in 1996-97, which was good enough to be included in some card sets next season. All of his cards from junior call him “Denis Smith” instead of “D.J. Smith.”
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Ottawa Senators (2019-20 to present).

Philadelphia Flyers: Alain Vigneault

1987-88 Hull Olympiques - Alain Vigneault

First-Ever Card: 1987-88 Hull Olympiques #20
Average Value: $3
Rarity: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 
Age in Picture: 26 years old.
Age Today: 59 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!”
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Montreal Canadiens (1997-98 to 2000-01); Vancouver Canucks (2006-07 to 2012-13); New York Rangers (2013-14 to 2017-18); Philadelphia Flyers (2019-20 to present).

Pittsburgh Penguins: Mike Sullivan

Rookie Card: 1991-92 Parkhurst #383
Average Value: 25 cents
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 23 or 24 years old.
Age Today: 52 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.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Boston Bruins (2003-04 & 2005-06); Pittsburgh Penguins (2015-16 to present).

San Jose Sharks: Bob Boughner

Rookie Card: 1996-97 Be A Player #178
Average Value: 50 cents (standard version)
$3 (autographed version)
$5 (silver autographed version)
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ (standard version)
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ (autographed version)
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ (silver autographed version)
Age in Picture: 24 or 25 years old. 
Age Today: 49 years old. 
Fun Facts: Boughner toiled in the minor leagues for five seasons with four different teams before getting his shot in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres. 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Florida Panthers (2017-18 to 2018-19); San Jose Sharks (2019-20 to present).

St. Louis Blues: Craig Berube

Rookie Card: 1990-91 O-Pee-Chee #448 (pictured), Pro Set #498, Upper Deck #450
Average Value:
25 cents
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture:
24 or 25 years old. 
Age Today:
55 years old. 
Fun Facts:
Berube started the 2018-19 season as an Associate Coach for the Blues, was promoted to interim head coach when Mike Yeo was fired, then named head coach for real when the Blues won the Stanley Cup.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Philadelphia Flyers (2013-14 & 2014-15); St. Louis Blues (2018-19 to present).

Tampa Bay Lightning: Jon Cooper

First-Ever Card: 2010-11 Norfolk Admirals #10
Average Value: $1 to $2
Rarity: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 43 years old.
Age Today: 53 years old
Fun Facts: Cooper is in almost the exact same pose on his 2011-12 card. Check it out:

Yep, that is Classic Coop right there! 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Tampa Bay Lightning (2012-13 to present)

Toronto Maple Leafs: Sheldon Keefe

Rookie Cards: 1999-2000 Black Diamond #96, MVP Stanley Cup Edition #195 (pictured), Ovation #64, SP Authentic #123, Topps #264, Upper Deck #309, Ultimate Victory #107 & Victory #361
Average Value: 50 cents to $1 for most; $2 for his Black Diamond RC. 
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 19 years old
Age Today: 40 years old 
Fun Fact: Even though Keefe is pictured with his junior team, the Barrie Colts, this is considered his “NHL Rookie Card” because it was a part of a licensed set of NHL trading cards. Confusing? Yes it is! 
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Toronto Maple Leafs (2019-20 to present)

Vancouver Canucks: Travis Green

Rookie Cards: 1992-93 Fleer Ultra #343 (above) & Parkhurst #343
Average Value: 25 cents.
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 22 years old.
Age Today: 50 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.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Vancouver Canucks (2018-19 to present).

Vegas Golden Knights: Peter DeBoer

First-Ever Card: 1989-90 ProCards IHL #189
Average Value: $1
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 21 years old.
Age Today: 52 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.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: Florida Panthers (2008-09 to 2010-11); New Jersey Devils (2011-12 to 2014-15); San Jose Sharks (2015-16 to 2019-20); Vegas Golden Knights (2020-21). 

Washington Capitals: Peter Laviolette

Rookie Cards: 1993-94 Fleer PowerPlay #508 (above) & Fleer Ultra #488
Average Value: 25 cents
Rarity: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 29 years old.
Age Today: 56 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. This is considered his NHL rookie card, even though it actually came out five years after he played in the NHL.
NHL Head Coaching Experience: New York Islanders (2001-02 & 2002-03); Carolina Hurricanes (2003-04 to 2008-09); Philadelphia Flyers (2009-10 to 2013-14); Nashville Predators (2014-15 to 2019-20); Washington Capitals (2020-21). 

Winnipeg Jets: Paul Maurice

First-Ever Card: 1993-94 Detroit Jr. Red Wings #23
Average Value: $1
Rarity: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Age in Picture: 26 years old.
Age Today: 54 years old.
Fun Facts: Maurice wore two hats, as both the head coach and general manager of the OHL’s Detroit Jr. Red Wings.
Previous NHL Head Coaching Experience: Hartford Whalers (1995-96 & 1996-97); Carolina Hurricanes (1997-98 to 2003-04); Toronto Maple Leafs (2006-07 & 2007-08); Carolina Hurricanes (2008-09 to 2011-12); Winnipeg Jets (2013-14 to present).


Just a couple of quick notes about card values and rarity.

I based the card values on recent eBay sales, historical sales data from Check Out My Cards, and sale prices at the Beckett Marketplace and at Center Ice Collectibles, which specializes in team-issued cards. As you can see, most of these cards do not sell for more than $2.

Rarity was based on my own experiences in finding these cards. I probably own 12 Rod Brind’Amour rookie cards, and if you have a box of 1990s hockey cards, you probably have 12 of them too. On the other hand, the above-pictured cards of Bruce Cassidy and Alain Vigneault were a challenge for me to find and buy. (That 1987-88 Hull Olympiques team-issued set was a “mini grail” when I finally bought one for my collection.)

But rarity is not necessarily an indicator of value; just because Vignault’s card is hard to find doesn’t mean that most collectors want one or would pay much money to own one. 

So, which rookie card from this list do you like the best? Leave a comment and let me know.

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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

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