Rookie Cards of Every NHL Head Coach for the 2021-22 Season

Every NHL head coach was involved in hockey at a high level prior to coaching in the world’s best hockey league. Some were NHL players, while others played major junior, collegiate, or minor pro hockey before coaching. Thus, all 32 NHL head coaches have had at least one hockey card issued sometime during either their playing or coaching careers.

Here is a list of rookie cards for every head coach in the NHL. Some had mainstream “rookie cards” found in sets  like Topps, O-Pee-Chee, Upper Deck, and Pro Set cards. Others did not play — or did not play long — in the NHL. In their cases, I tracked down the earliest trading card that coach had. I’ve indicated the value of each card and how difficult the card is to find today.  

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David Backes’ First Hockey Card

2001-02 Lincoln Stars #2: David Backes

Today, 15-year NHL veteran David Backes signed a one-day contract with the St. Louis Blues so that he could retire as a member of the team he spent most of his career with. The Blues picked Backes in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft in the second round, 62nd overall. Five years later, Backes made his NHL debut, played 10 seasons with the Blues, and then another five seasons split between the Boston Bruins and the Anaheim Ducks.

But 20 years ago, a fresh-faced, 18-year old Backes was playing Junior A hockey with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL and was included in the team’s 2001-02 trading card set. Of course, back then Backes was a little shorter and a lot lighter 

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2020-21 Upper Deck Extended Series Hobby Box Break #3

Can you have too much of a good thing? Maybe so. My third and final box — for now, anyway — of 2020-21 Upper Deck Extended Series gave me some new surprise insets, as well as inserts that I’ve already grown a bit tired of.

As much as I love the retro-esque inserts in Extended Series, I seem to get the same types over and over, while there are other types of inserts that I have yet to see. And I don’t mean that I’m getting doubles of any insert cards. Collation for Extended Series has been great overall, and I did get a few types of insert cards that I didn’t get from my previous two boxes. 

So, let’s take a look and see what surprises were inside my third box of Extended Series.

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2020-21 Upper Deck Extended Series Hobby Box Break #2

Since I am “all in” on building a set of 2020-21 Upper Deck Extended Series, I know that I will need at least two boxes to build the 200-card base set. Extended Series also has a plethora of insert sets designed to look like popular late 1990s Upper Deck releases such as HoloGr-FX, Ovation and Ultimate Victory, among others. (Click here for my first box break of 2020-21 Upper Deck Extended Series and for more general information about this set.) 

Since the inserts you get in 2020-21 Upper Deck Extended Series can vary from box to box, I’ve decided to post another box break so you can see some of the inserts that I didn’t get in my first box. 

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2020-21 Upper Deck Extended Series Hobby Box Break

I was excited when I learned that 2020-21 Upper Deck Extended Series — a.k.a. “Series 3” — was coming out this summer. The Upper Deck flagship set has been my favorite hockey card set to collect over the past 30 years, and I think that expanding the set from its usual 500 cards to 730 cards makes a great thing even better. 

Upper Deck Extended Series consists of 200 base cards and 30 Young Guns rookie cards — instead of the usual 50 Young Guns per series like there are in Series One and Series Two. A lot of the cards in the 200-card base set picture players from the 2020 NHL All-Star Game, which took place about six weeks before the league shut down in March 2020 due to COVID-19. Like Series One and Series Two, there are eight cards in a foil pack and 24 packs in a box.

Making Extended Series really appealing to myself and other old school hockey collectors is the inclusion of numerous insert sets based on popular sets from the late 1990s and early 2000s, such as HoloGr-FX and Ultimate Victory. 

I recently purchased a hobby box of 2020-21 Upper Deck Extended Series. Here is what I got. 

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1988-89 Topps Hockey Cards Set Checklist, Details & Review

Neon and pushpins make this set stick around

The 1988-89 Topps Hockey Card set has a fun-looking design, some notable rookie cards, and a historically significant card, too. This was the third year in a row that Topps released a hockey set with 198 cards. In addition to the 198 cards, there are 33 insert stickers and 16 “box bottom” cards that were found in four-card panels on the bottom of display boxes. 

This set features bright colors and a quirky design elements. Notable rookie cards include Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan, Joe Nieuwendyk, and Bob Probert. The Wayne Gretzky card is significant because it is the first hockey card to use a press conference photo, as Gretzky was traded from the Oilers to the Kings that summer, and a photo of Gretzky suited up with the Kings was not yet available. 

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2020-21 Upper Deck NHL Star Rookies Box Set Checklist & Review

While at my local Target store the other day, I decided to take a look at the trading card aisle, knowing full well that Target was currently not selling sports cards. But maybe I’d get lucky and find some top loaders or penny sleeves or — hey now, what’s this?

Yes! My local Target had a few of the 2020-21 Upper Deck NHL Star Rookies Box Sets in stock for $20 each. The set contains “one 25-card rookie set per box,” plus one in every 20 sets has an autographed card. 

Autograph or not. I was pretty happy to find this because I haven’t seen any sports cards at Target since May, and $20 for 25 cards seems like a bargain nowadays. And I’ve always been a sucker for boxed sets that focus on a particular subject — in this case, hockey rookies — and that I could just buy and be done with. 

So, let’s take a look and see what goodness $20 will bring me. 

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The 35 Best Hockey Cards from 1990-91

Hockey cards exploded in popularity during the 1990-91 season. Baseball, football and basketball cards had steadily gained momentum during the 1980s. In 1990, it was hockey’s turn. Upper Deck, Score and Pro Set joined incumbents Topps and O-Pee-Chee to release hockey card sets that season. This resulted in an arms race between the five companies, who tried to outdo each other and make cards of the best prospects and hottest rookies before their competitors did. 

As a result, a slew of great rookie cards were issued that year. The 1990-91 NHL season had arguably the best rookie class of any year for hockey card collectors. The NHL rookie of the year winners from 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994 all had rookie cards made during the 1990-91 season. And over a dozen future Hall of Fame players had rookie cards in ’90-91. 

The downside was that most hockey cards from 1990-91 were produced in such vast amounts that it is considered the start of the “Junk Wax Era” for hockey cards. 

Yet not all hockey cards issued during the 1990-91 season are worthless. In addition to some great rookie cards, there are also some hidden gems and a legendary chase card. Plus, any card on this list with a high PSA or BGS grade can fetch a premium on the secondary market. 

But graded or ungraded, these are the 35 best hockey cards from 1990-91 that every hockey card collector should own. 

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The Wyatt Russell Hockey Rookie Card

Did you know that Wyatt Russell has a hockey card? Yes, the actor who plays John Walker — a.k.a. the new Captain America — in the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier used to be a pro hockey player. His hockey card is from a set of movie trading cards made to promote the film Goon: Last of the Enforcers. Russell’s life — going from hockey player, to actor playing hockey player, to actor playing Captain America — took an interesting and unconventional road. 

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2020-21 Upper Deck Series 1 Hobby Box Break

So much hype surrounded the release of 2020-21 Upper Deck Series One Hockey. The season hadn’t started yet, but that didn’t stop hockey card collectors (as well as speculators) from wanting to buy the latest release from Upper Deck — mainly in the hopes of finding a Young Guns rookie card of first-overall pick Alexis Lafreniere. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping to get a Lafreniere rookie card — or three — as I opened numerous retail packs from blasters and “mega boxes” that I purchased at my local Target.

Unsuccessful with retail packs, I decided to try my luck with hobby boxes. While the odds of getting a Young Guns card are the same (1 in every 4 packs), there are more inserts in hobby packs, better odds at getting jersey cards and the chance of finding an autographed card. The price of a hobby box is higher, but the trade off is you get more inserts and a jersey card. 

A hobby box of 2020-21 Upper Deck Series One Hockey has 24 packs. Each pack has 8 cards. Here are the results of my first hobby box break of this set. 

Oh, and I must apologize in advance for the sheer amount of Rangers in this box break; it seems like practically every insert card I got was of a Rangers’ player. 

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