Friday, April 25, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #25 - Danny Lawson

Danny Lawson fans all know that this is his rookie card. People who aren't fans, now know that fact too. Nothing new or groundbreaking with the front side of this card as it appears to look like many of the others in the set but the back holds something interesting. 

Here is the back side of the card and the first line struck me as being odd. "First drafted by the WHA's Miami Screaming Eagles". What? Miami had a WHA team? Well upon further review, there was intention for there to be a Miami team but because they couldn't get a stadium build etc, they ended up starting in Philadelphia instead of Miami.After one season in Philly, the franchise then moved to Vancouver for two seasons before finally going to Calgary where it met its death in 1977.

Danny Lawson was a fringe NHL player who played a few seasons in the NHL after having a solid junior career. Then he joined the WHA was an offensive star before ending his career at the age of 30. He tried a comeback or two but never could stick anywhere in North America and sadly he passed away at the young age of 61 due to cancer.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #24 - Pat Hickey

For all those interested, this is indeed a Pat Hickey Rookie Card and the 8th so far in the set of 66 cards. While it books for a mere 4 dollars, that doesn't detract from the fact that he is among some of the finer rookies found in the set. Pat did what many wanted to do and that was start in the WHA and carve out a respectable NHL career. Pat did that very well actually by playing two years with the Toros before joining the Rangers for the best years of his career. In 77-78, Pat Hickey put up an impressive 40 goals with the Rangers and he followed it up with 34 the next year and a career high of 75 points.

Here is the back side of the card and as you can see he put up very respectable numbers during his rookie season in the WHA. One neat fact about Pat is he was definitely not a clutch player. During his career he averaged 0.63 points per game in the regular season which includes some pretty sub-par final NHL seasons. His playoff numbers were atrocious. During his time in the NHL he scored just 5 playoff goals in 55 games to go along with 11 assists. If you combine those together you get a shabby 0.29 points per game. Pat certainly was no Claude Lemieux but he was still a pretty good player nonetheless.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #23 - Ron Buchanan

 The jersey is looking a little too pink in this photo. I assure you it isn't my scanner either! Ron also has a Mona Lisa thing going here with his facial expression. This could be da Vinci's favourite hockey card if he could have had one.

Like so many WHA players, Ron was a junior and minor hockey league star who did well for himself in the WHA. We was in the latter half of his career when he started and as a result he was out of hockey by 76-77. This is his rookie card for Buchanan fans out there so it is a must have if you have a PC based on him. What I didn't know is Ron's father played in the NHL like he did. Ron played 5 games in the NHL and his father Mike played 1 game in the 51-52 season.

Friday, April 11, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #22 - Larry Lund

Larry Lund played with Gordie Howe, can you say that? Larry didn't play in the NHL or was ever drafted in the NHL so in that way, Larry is no better than me. Larry was an excellent minor/WHA hockey player and unfortunately he was never able to get himself on with an NHL club and before the WHA was finished, Larry was.
Larry was an offensive forward who peaked in 74-75 with 33 goals and 108 points. During 74-75 Larry actually had more points than Gordie Howe and no one can ever take that away from him. In addition to being in the WHA Hall of Fame, Larry owns a Brew Pub in his hometown of Penticton BC.

Monday, April 7, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #21 - Ron Ward

There are two things that Ron Ward did very well in life. The first is evident from this picture as well as from his hockeydb photo. This man knew how to grow body hair better than anyone on the planet. I think based on what appears to be a mohair sweater under his equipment that he could out do Robin Williams.

The second thing he did well was rack up points in the minor leagues. Ron had 7 career points in the NHL over 89 games but was averaging more than a point a game in his WHA career. The statement on the back of the card says it all. "If there were no WHA, there's a good chance that Ron might not be playing major league hockey today".

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #20 - Dave Dryden

I don't think I have paid as much attention to these cards as I have since I started these posts. Looking at this card, I was able to learn lots of cool stuff and apparently Dave and I have LOTS in common. Here is the front side of the card. Dave and his brother Ken do have very similar autos which was one cool thing I discovered.

The similarities between Dave and I are pretty cool too. First we are both named Dave. Second, we both graduated from the University of Waterloo. Third, we are both teachers and I used to play goalie when it came to road hockey and even strapped the pads on a few times in ice hockey too. My lone minor hockey league start was a win! Lastly, we were both born on the 5th day of the month. I am definitely thinking a TTM letter is coming your way Dave, hopefully you don't mind signing for a fellow Dave.

BTW, if you are Canadian, then hopefully this Dave's post reminds you of the best Dave song in the world.

Monday, March 31, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #19 - Mike Pelyk

Mike Pelyk was another NHL'er who was lured to the WHA by a hefty contract. Some sources I have seen suggest that he was offered a million dollars to jump to the WHA. I am not sure over how many years that contract was intended to be fore, but in the end he was back in the NHL by 1976 and out of hockey by 1978.

Here is the back side of the card. Apparently he was the property of the Stingers and was loaned to the Blazers. I am curious to know how common these deals were back in the day? Hard to imagine a player like Brent Seabrook or Scott Hartnell being lent to another club in the same league.

Interestingly enough, this card is Mike's only WHA card despite playing two years in the league. Another neat fact is he would only ever appear in one other set after this year and that is the 76-77 OPC set.

For all interested, here is his final hockey card