Once in a while, Jonathan will pull out a random hockey card from his personal collection and attempt to share a few interesting observations.
Ever heard of a hockey player named Wayne Gretzky? Well, he’s the subject of today’s installment of “Random Hockey Cards.”
When I was a kid, I loved the “In Action” cards. I loathed the boring headshot—especially the airbrushed headshot. (You can see a few examples here.) I wanted to see the players actually playing hockey.
As you can see above, the back of the card commemorates one of The Great One’s greatest personal achievements: scoring 50 goals in only 39 games. (The previous record had been held by Maurice “The Rocket” Richard and Mike Bossy, who both scored exactly 50 goals in 50 games.)
The 50th goal was scored on December 30th, 1981. I highly doubt anyone will ever again score 50 goals before the New Year.
I do have a couple of complaints about the card. First, it would have been nice if the card’s photo was from a game versus the Flyers instead of the Black Hawks. (In case you’re wondering, the Chicago defenseman is Dave Hutchinson.) Second, it says the Oilers “belted” the Flyers. Not true. It was a close game, and Gretzky’s final goal was an empty-netter.
TRIVIA QUESTION: In 1982, Wayne Gretzky became the first hockey player and the first Canadian to win what award? (The answer can be found below.)
I highly recommend watching the video. Here are a few observations.
(1) The goalies are tiny. Obviously, Gretzky wouldn’t have scored as many goals if he had faced today’s goalies. But he was easily the best NHL player in the eighties. Gretzky led the NHL in 1981-82 with 92 goals, while Mike Bossy was second with 64. According to my calculator, that’s 28 fewer goals than Gretzky. (My friend and I used to argue who was better: Gretzky or Bossy. I think I know who won that argument. Hint: me.)
(2) Don Cherry is the analyst. Cherry predicts that nobody will ever break Gretzky’s record—not even Gretzky himself. So far, he is correct.
(3) The Flyers are wearing Cooperalls. The NHL’s long pants experiment will never totally be forgotten. (The Hartford Whalers also wore Cooperalls during the 1982-83 season.)
(4) I will forever associate Grezky’s 50th goal with the curly-haired Oiler fan seen at 0:59 and 7:53. Anyone know who he is?
ANSWER: The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year. (Gretzky was also named 1982 “Sportsman of the Year” by Sports Illustrated.)