Plus: The NHLPA Internal Investigation
Episode #116: April 21, 2022
In the newest Puck Junk Hockey Podcast, Sal Barry and Tim Parish talk about the career of the late Mike Bossy, including his numerous career accomplishments, and some of his most-notable hockey cards. They also discuss the NHLPA’s internal investigation on its mishandling of the Kyle Beach Case, the retirement of Blackhawks announcer Pat Foley, a look back at Wayne Gretzky’s last game, and new hockey cards.
Show Notes and Links:
Career in Cards: Mike Bossy (Puck Junk)
The NHLPA Report Regarding Union’s Response to Kyle Beach (PDF)
Why Blackhawks Loaned Kyle Beach to a Team in Sweden (Third Man In)
Pat Foley’s Legendary “Bannerman!” Call (Video)
NHL Network Opens Upper Deck Hockey Cards (Video)
Marshawn Lynch Drives the Seattle Kraken Zamboni (Video)
Wayne Gretzky Final Game Last Moments (Video)
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was on all our minds last week. Naturally, talk about the war found its way into hockey circles. Hockey is a global sport. Many of the game’s best players are from Russia, and there are numerous international hockey tournaments, from the annual World Junior Championships and World Championships, to the quadrennial Winter Olympics which just recently took place.
In a life-and-death situation like this, that can impact hundreds of thousands of lives, athletes and sportswriters cannot just “stick to sports.” That said, several prominent current and former NHL players spoke out about the war in Ukraine and what it could potentially mean for Russian hockey players.
Other hockey news this week includes two players reaching career milestones, another player having his jersey number retired, and the passing of one of hockey’s all-time great builders.
Stumbling around in a discount book store last fall, I found a copy of 99 Stories of the Game by Wayne Gretzky sitting by the cash register. I’d seen this book before and had passing interest, as in I was mildly interested in reading it one day, but I’d always passed on it. But this one has a gold sticker in the corner advertizing it as a signed copy and I actually had to put my eyeballs on the ink to see if was real. It was! Who is going to turn down a $15 autograph of the man whose many accomplishments also include hawking a ready to eat soup mix from your own Stanley Cup?
During the 1994-95 season, Upper Deck sold a set of hockey cards called Parkhurst Special Edition — usually referred to as Parkhurst SE — in Europe. Even though the cards were printed in English, they were sold outside of North America, though many have eventually found their way back to this side of the Atlantic. Even though they were sold overseas, Parkhurst SE cards were printed in English.
A while ago, I found this promo card for Parkhurst SE. It features Wayne Gretzky and gives more details about the set in English: 10 cards per pack, 48 packs per box, and a special collectors album to put the set in.
But the back of the card was always a mystery to me. It is written in Swedish and Finnish, and I never knew what it said — until I got a little help from some friends on Twitter.
Thirty years ago, on August 9, 1988, the biggest trade in sports was made when the Edmonton Oilers sent Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings in a multiplayer deal that included draft picks and $15 million.
It was the biggest trade in history because it proved that no one was untouchable – not even a superstar player who topped the league in scoring seven of the previous eight seasons, led his team to four championships, won 23 individual awards, held 49 league records and was on the verge of breaking many more.
Gretzky’s move to the second-largest market in North America not only accelerated the growth of hockey in the United States, it sparked the eventual explosion in popularity for hockey cards and collectibles.
Thirty years ago today — August 9, 1988 — Wayne Gretzky was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. That, of course, gets me thinking about Gretzky’s trading cards. We all know that his rookie cards are valuable, and his 1988-89 cards are hella cool, so I thought it would be fun to take a look at Gretzky’s more unusual hockey cards.
Wayne Gretzky has endorsed numerous products, and thus has been in a lot of commercials during and after his NHL career. But many of the commercials were either footage of Gretzky playing hockey intercut with shots of products, or of him seriously explaining that whatever he was shilling was a good thing. Boring!
So, in honor of The Great One’s Birthday today, I came up with a list of the 10 funniest Wayne Gretzky commercials.
August 9, 1988 was arguably the single most important day in hockey history. On that day, the biggest trade in professional sports took place when the Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings. Here, the best player in his sport was traded at the height of his career. Gretzky’s trade changed hockey forever. “Kings Ransom,” an ESPN documentary directed by Peter Berg, recounts that fateful day and the events that led up to it.
Unfortunately, “Kings Ransom,” released in 2009, is not the documentary that I hoped for. It tries so hard to be dramatic and doesn’t say anything that hasn’t already been said.
Wayne Gretzky Indianapolis Racers “pre-RC” from the 1990s
In the early 1990s, a different kind of fake Wayne Gretzky card surfaced. Instead of counterfeiting Gretzky’s 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee rookie card, an enterprising crook decided to take things one step further, and make a card of Gretzky as a member of the Indianapolis Racers. Continue reading “Card of the Week: The Fake One”