Good Tuesday evening to you all, I hope that your week is going by well so far. I decided to create a post on one of my favorite overproduced sets of all time, 1990-91 Upper Deck Hockey.
Released in 2 series, with series 1 containing cards 1-400, while series 2 packs contained cards from both series, including the high numbered cards 401-550.
There were quite a lot of excellent rookies from that set, including Ed Belfour, Mats Sundin, Pavel Bure, Felix Potvin, Jaromir Jagr, and so on.
I believe at one point I owned quite a few of the low number sets..I now only have 2 complete sets in my collection. I decided to dig one of them out and look at some of the old photography. There were some great pics in there.
Here's a couple of guys that were grandfathered in when the mandatory helmet rule came in August of 1979.
If a player had signed his a pro contract before June 1, 1979 they were given the choice of whether to wear a helmet or not. I believe that the only other player pictured in the set not to wear a helmet during game action was Guy Lafleur.
Here's another interesting card, and not because it's of one of my favorite players, Joe Sakic. Take a look at the captains "C" on his jersey. You can clearly see that the "A" had been there for quite a while previously before Joe was made team captain, at the tender age of 21. Joe was actually a co-captain for the next season, and by 1992 was full time captain of the club until his retirement in 2009.
The next photo is of a player that I hated back in the 90's, Cam Neely of the Boston Bruins. This guy was a warrior on the ice. Combination of toughness and scoring ability made the trade from Vancouver one of the most lopsided trades in my mind in Boston history. This photo of him shaking hands, no doubt after a series victory over the Hartford Whalers (now the Carolina Hurricanes), is an excellent photo that shows the sportsmanship of hockey players each spring, even after beating each other up.
The next photo is something you would normally see on a baseball card, Joel Otto of the Calgary Flames blowing a bubble, likely during a pre-game warmup.
Not too sure though the irony of where exactly he is holding his hockey stick with the words "Extra-Stiff" on display.
But I digress...
Lastly, I just had to show this card, because it's a perfect example of why I've enjoyed collecting Upper Deck hockey cards since they first came out in '90-91. The card shows Theo Fleury of the Calgary Flames, all 5'6" of him hurling himself airborne attempting to check an opposing player.
If I'm not mistaken, that opponent is Dave Taylor of the LA Kings.
For those of you that don't know Theo's story, it is a very sad tale of a very talented hockey player who battled the demons of alcohol and drug addiction during his career.
His autobiography, Playing with Fire, chronicled sexual abuse that he had suffered at the hands of a former coach, who recently was found guilty of the assault, and will be sentenced in February of 2012.
Theo was also famous for one of the best OT goal celebrations in NHL history. Take a look at it here.
The early Upper Deck hockey cards were great, but made in quantities that were mind boggling to say the least. Still, they will be one of my fondest memories of collecting cards as an adult.
thanks for reading, Robert