Friday, February 28, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #8 - Tom Webster

Tom "Hawkeye" Webster is the next card in the set. Like many of the other players listed so far, Tom was a star in junior and had a good season with Detroit in 70-71 before jumping to the WHA. Like many of other others listed, Tom played very well in the WHA scoring at least 30 goals a season every year except the last one where he was limited to just 15 goals in 20 games. Like many of the others, Tom didn't really have much of a hockey career as a player after the WHA folded.

Tom did go on to become an NHL head coach and was even Gretzky's coach in LA for three seasons.
One thing I didn't realize was Tom was a member of Team Canada at the 74 Summit Series and he coached the World Juniors in 1989 to a fourth place finish. Tom did win in 1991 as an assistant coach of the Team Canada at the Canada Cup tournament.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #7 - Rosaire Paiement

Rosaire was a minor league star who benefited from the WHA like many fringe players. He turned out to be a pretty consistent WHA player who averaged nearly 30 goals a year in his first 4 WHA seasons. Still, never broke out as a superstar like he was in the EHL with the Jersey Devils but was a solid WHA player.

Here is the back side. As you can see, it is one of my rougher condition cards from the set with a crease or two on the bottom right. I really like the comic on this one, which states defensemen always wear ankle guards. That is something that was true...disappeared and now is making a comeback again.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #6 - Bryan Campbell

When I see this card, I can't help but find myself drawn to the jersey. There were some pretty great jerseys in the WHA and some pretty bad ones. What are your thoughts on this one? Personally, not a fan of them at all. In 1972 the franchise was the Philadelphia Blazers, then in 1973 they were the Vancouver Blazers. After two seasons in Vancouver they moved to Calgary to become the Calgary Blazers Cowboys and by 1977 they were done.

Bryan Campbell was another player who was decent in the NHL and was a star in the WHA. Clearly the talent wasn't as strong in the WHA but that shouldn't diminish some of the players accomplishments in the WHA either. What I find interesting on the back of the card is the cartoon of the referee. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #5 - Serge Bernier

Serge Bernier was a decent NHL'er who defected to the WHA after its first season. What is neat about this card is we all know the Nordiques, but check out the colours. Much different that the Nordiques of the 80's and early 90's.

Serge played 6 seasons in the WHA all with the Nordiques and another 8 seasons in the NHL with Philly, LA and Quebec. Serge played his best season in 74-75 when he scored 54 goals and 122 points. He did score 20 goals twice in the NHL but his best days were during his six season in the WHA where he put up 230 goals and 556 points. Serge Bernier is also a WHA Hall of Famer much Ulf Nilsson from my last post.

Monday, February 24, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #4 - Ulf Nilsson

The fourth card in the set is also a rookie, this time it is Ulf Nilsson. There are 30 official rookies in this set and Ulf Nilsson is one of the bigger ones. With a book value of $12 dollars, it is tied with Anders Hedberg as the most expensive rookie in the set. Ulf had an amazing WHA career which included 4 straight years of at least 114 points per season and a career average of 35 goals and 121 points per season in the WHA. His transition to the NHL was good but an injury caused by Denis Potvin seriously hampered his career and forced him into an early retirement. Despite the injury, Ulf still averaged nearly a point per game in both the regular season and the playoffs in the NHL.

No stats, just facts! Ulf was inducted into the WHA Hall of Fame in 2010.

Friday, February 21, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #3 - Wayne Dillion

Card number three in the set is a Wayne Dillon rookie. Wayne is a classic case of a player who was awesome in junior and used the WHA to launch himself into the NHL. Wayne was drafted by the Rangers after two seasons in the WHA. The Rangers made him their first pick (12th overall) after 95 points season in his second year. Wayne struggled with injuries and couldn't match his WHA success in the NHL and by 1982 was completely out of hockey.

The comic on the back seems so silly, but not everyone back in the day may have known the puck is made of rubber. Check out that rookie season in the WHA. His point total was good enough for third that year behind Wayne Carleton and Gavin Kirk. The next season, he lead the team in scoring (beating Frank Mahovlich) before leaving for the NHL. Wayne would make one more WHA appearance in 1977-78 with the Birmingham Bulls but by then he wasn't the same player he was at the start of his career.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #2 - Bruce MacGregor

74-75 OPC WHA  #2 - Bruce MacGregor
After the first card in the set, OPC goes with the same pattern for all the other player cards in the set. The left side of the front features a team banner with a player making a play on the puck. Below the banner is the position and name of the player and the right side of the card features a large photo with a facsimile auto. All the photos in the set are studio shots.

The backside of the card is very well used. Personal vitals and card number on the upper left. Cartoon on the upper right and the middle of the back is loaded with bilingual text. At last on the bottom are last seasons stats and career totals. If the player was in the NHL last year (73-74) all the stats are NHL. If the player played in the WHA the previous year then their stats are entirely WHA (Gordie Howe being the exception).

Bruce MacGregor was a long-time NHL'er (15 seasons) before he jumped to the WHA. He played two seasons with the Oilers before retiring from hockey. Bruce was an assistant GM with the Oilers in the 80's winning 5 Cups with them.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #1 - The Howes

The WHA was an interesting league to say the least, and what might have been more interesting was OPC's approach to handling its business with respect to the league. OPC had been making NHL cards for a few years before this bump in the road existed and with the WHA beginning their season in 72-73, OPC decided to include them in their NHL set. What OPC did was dedicated a series 3 to WHA players which was cards 280-341. The following season, OPC released a WHA Posters Set and then in 74-75 OPC released its own WHA set featuring 66 cards including a checklist. Here is OPC's inaugural WHA set card by card.  

74-75 OPC #1 The Howes/Les Howes
 This card is a very interesting one for a few reasons. It is the first "card" to feature Gordie Howe in his WHA uniform and it features him with two of his sons. Technically it is a rookie card for Mark and Marty as well but for whatever reason it isn't considered one by the Beckett Hockey Monthly. In baseball multiplayer cards are often considered rookies, just see Nolan Ryan for an example. Nolan's rookie also featured Jerry Koosman but I guess in hockey the rules are different. Mark and Marty get their rookies the following year when OPC released their much larger 132 card 75-76 OPC set.

The card itself, feature all three Howes in a studio shot with facsimile autos of all three on the front as well.

Here is the back of the card. Check out those stats! In all it is a very cool first card of the set and I like that OPC did the triple player card of the Howes and didn't feature them on any other cards in the set. Also neat to see that Mark started his career as a Left Winger before eventually making the move to defense. The 1973-74 WHA season was a fine one for the Houston Aeros with the Howe boys winning the Avco World Trophy aka Avco Cup. A 45 year old Gordie Howe lead the team in scoring with his 100 points and put up another 17 in 13 playoff games.

This card certainly is one of the more famous cards to come out of the mid-70's and I think is one of those cards that most Howe collectors and WHA collectors must have. Personally, I don't think OPC could have picked a better first card for their set.

Welcome to The History of Hockey Cards

Welcome to my new blog. Wax Stain Rookie will always be going but I want to focus on the history of hockey cards too. It has been a blog idea for many years and I started the blog a few years ago. I never posted anything because of time, and lack of direction. I think I have a little time now and I think I have an idea of what direction I want to take with it. With that being said, still going to be in my style of posting so I apologize for that but I am striving for quantity over quality. If I proof read everything I did I would have a 10th as many posts as I do because I tend to have a bit of a perfectionism in me so when I start to care about something I tend to over analyze. But if I attempt something without that exception of it being flawless, I have no problem just letting the grammatical errors flow. I still am going to stick to the facts however so what you read here will be true as far as I know the truth.

The design is going to be a work in progress to say the least. I have no idea of how I want it to look etc, but I thought I would begin with material and let it organically evolve. So those very talented bloggers out there with design backgrounds and programming skills will need to bear with me and endure some time of uncertainty.

I hope to look at sets, singles, inserts and the evolution of hockey cards from 1910 until current day. My first topic will be the 74-75 OPC WHA hockey set. I am going to break the set down card by card and allow those to have a chance to see it for the first time or find some appreciation for a set they already own. If you have ideas for my blog please share them with me but that is where I am going to start. So, next post, card number 1 from the 74-75 OPC WHA set.

I promise, my set will look better than this one I shared a while back from one of my mystery boxes.