I pulled this card a few weeks ago from a blaster box of OPC, and the memories just came flooding back.
This card for me, is an iconic image. It reminds me of what could have been. The card is of Pelle Lindbergh.
In an age where mask designs were becoming the norm, if not the expected, Pelle's stone cold white mask went against the grain.
It looks as if he's giving you the death stare from behind the mask, daring you to try and score on him.
Pelle's was a life that was taken way too soon. 27 years ago today, Pelle passed away after slamming his Porsche into a wall after returning from a team function. Pelle was legally drunk at the time according to blood alcohol testing.
Pelle was the Vezina trophy winner after the 84-85 season, having won 40 games with a 3.02 GAA.
Pelle became the first player to be posthumously voted to an All-Star team (football player Sean Taylor became the only other person to do so in 2008). Lindbergh was also the first goalie to bring a water bottle with him on the ice during an NHL game.
Nobody has worn the #31 for the Flyers since Pelle's death. I think it would be a classy move by the Flyers to retire the number.
My wife has made me a believer in the saying "everything happens for a reason". While Ron Hextall didn't play that year, he became the Flyers #1 goalie the next season after Lindbergh's passing, and forged a great career for himself. You have to wonder had Pelle still been alive what would have happened to Hextall.
The white mask will be something that will live on with me for a long time, a reminder of a career, and a life, that was way too short.
God bless you Pelle
Thanks for reading, Robert