That's right, a guy who writes a blog featuring vintage cards from all types of sports never bothered to add one of those sports to his collection. And this after growing up near the Canadian border and even following the Montreal Canadiens and Guy LaFleur as a kid. Sorry, but they simply didn't have any hockey cards for sale where I grew up and I never really went out of my way to collect them.
I really should have, though. They have a richer history than football and basketball cards, going back to the same 1910 era as the T-cards and several sets from the 1930s as well.
Tom sent me six cards, and they were all from the 1972/'73 Topps hockey set. That's actually a good set to start out with, since I also appeared that hockey season (made my own debut on December 2, in fact). Here's the big hit of the package:
Card #56 -- Stan Mikita, Chicago Black Hawks
Considered the NHL's premier center during the 1960s, Stan Mikita played with the Black Hawks from 1959-'80 and went to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983. I don't know the wait period for the HOF, but three years after retirement is pretty quick.
Knowing I'm a collector who always has an eye for historical things, Tom also included this card in the stack:
Card #170 -- Art Ross Trophy
The Art Ross Trophy is given each year to the top scorer in the NHL. Although the official trophy began to be awarded after the 1947/'48 season, the back of this card shows the leading scorers for each season going back to 1917.
And Stan Mikita won it four times. In fact, Mikita is the only NHL player to ever win the Art Ross Trophy, Lady Byng Trophy (for sportsmanship) and the Hart Trophy (for the MVP) in the same season. And he did that twice, in 1966/'67 and 1967/'68. His card is a great start to a small hockey collection.
So thanks, Tom!