Five Awful Hockey Card Photos

Hockey cards immortalize our heroes onto small pieces of cardboard that we can keep forever. But sometimes, a card can make our favorite player look really bad. Here are 5 hockey card photographs that should have their negatives burned.

1981-82 Topps #130E - Denis Potvin

OOOF!

5. Denis Potvin / 1981-82 Topps #130E
The card says “Super Action” at the bottom, but the only action we see is Denis Potvin of the New York Islanders falling backwards and squashing his own goaltender. Sadly, this photo does not properly encapsulate his remarkable playoff run in 1981, when he scored 8 goals and 17 assists en route to the team’s second Stanley Cup championship. Instead, Potvin looks like a clumsy oaf. Topps did a great job of making him appear incompetent on his own trading card.

1994 World Cup Soccer #C8 – Wayne Gretzky

"When is my flight home?"

4. Wayne Gretzky / 1994 World Cup Soccer #C8
Gretzky was a spokesman for the Upper Deck trading card company. Sometimes, this entailed doing things he might not have wanted to do, like appear on a soccer card. Upper Deck included cards of popular athletes from other sports in their 1994 World Cup Soccer set, designating each one as an “Honorary Captain.” Here, Gretzky is the Honorary Captain for the city of Los Angeles, but his forced half-smile lead us to believe that right now he’d rather be in Edmonton.

1987-88 O-Pee-Chee Leaders #14 – Glen Hanlon

A man's gotta do...

3. Glen Hanlon / 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee Leaders #14
Is Glen Hanlon making an, ahem, equipment adjustment? Or does he just have an itch?  You really can’t fault the Detroit Red Wings goaltender here, so you have to wonder why (a) the photographer felt the need to sell this picture to the card company, and (b) why the card company thought this would be a great photo for their “League Leaders” set? Hanlon appeared in 36 games the previous season, so it’s not like a better photo was lacking, which brings us to our next card…

2010-11 Score #545 – Bryan Pitton

"Hey buddy, the camera is THIS way!"

2. Bryan Pitton  / 2010-11 Score #545
If the absolute best photo a card company can muster up shows the back – not the front – of the player’s head, then why bother making a card? Nonetheless, Panini America felt the need to include Edmonton Oilers prospect Bryan Pitton in their Score “Hot Rookies” subset. When your own rookie card shows you from the back, that can’t be a good sign.  Coincidentally, Pitton’s rookie card in that year’s Donruss set – also made by Panini – shows him from the back too. (Click here for a 2-minute video further detailing why this card sucks.)

1983-84 O-Pee-Chee #226 – Mel Bridgman

"Hey you kids! Get off mah lawn!"

1. Mel Bridgeman / 1983-84 O-Pee-Chee #226
Absolutely nothing about this card makes Mel Bridgeman look good. When he was traded from the Calgary Flames to the New Jersey Devils in the off season, the O-Pee-Chee card did what they always did back then – have someone paint the player’s new uniform colors on the photograph. The results were usually laughable, and this card is no exception. Bridgeman’s gray lunchbox-of-a-helmet would be enough to merit inclusion on this list, but what really ices it is his angry, toothless scowl. Instead of painting over his jersey, O-Pee-Chee should have had the touch-up artist give Bridgman a few more teeth.

Sal Barry
Sal Barry is a college teacher and freelance web designer who writes about hockey cards and collectibles for THW. He is the webmaster of the hockey card website Puck Junk. He has written for Beckett Hockey Magazine and currently writes a monthly card-related piece forThe Hockey News. Sal is a recurring guest on the XM Radio program The War Room as their hockey collectibles expert.

5 Comments

  1. Brent Lemon says:

    Sal, what a fun article…the headline demanded to be clicked!

    BKL

  2. I had that Denis Potvin card (well, the O-Pee-Chee version, looked exactly the same), and it was awesome! I had a friend offer me his entire card collection for that one card, and I turned him down.  It was our favorite card by far.

    • May I ask why you and your friend liked the Potvin “Super Action” card so much? Potvin’s regular card showed him in a less embarrassing situation.

  3. One that possibly could fit is the 1971-72 Topps/OPC card of Rogetien Vachon’s sunburned face on the torso of the very fair skinned hairy Ross Lonsbury. One for the ages.

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