Celebrate the New Season with Mr. Hockey
A new hockey season has started, and we’re excited to return to the ice. And that got us thinking: what player epitomizes everything that’s great about the fastest game on ice than Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe. If a hockey player earns the name “Mr. Hockey,” fans can assume he might have been the best all-around player to skate on ice – he was. Howe played an impossible 25 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, setting records for assists, goals, total points, and respect. He hoisted four Stanley Cups, racked up an astounding six Art Ross trophies, six Hart trophies. More important than the individual records, awards, and championships, Howe has a stat line named in his honor. The Gordie Howe hat trick signifies that player scored a goal, had an assist, and a fight in a single game. Talk about hockey greatness.
In honor all things hockey, and Mr. Hockey, check out the top five Topps Hockey cards from Gordie Howe’s prime. This barnburner of a list is brought to us by our good friends at PWCC Marketplace.
#5: 1954-55 Topps Hockey #8 Gordie Howe
In 1954, Topps minted their first hockey cards. The 1954 Topps Hockey set offers a master class on how to create a stunning collection of cards. Topps broke the mold in ‘54 with a classic design that makes this set among the most recognizable and prized in the industry. The player images look like they jumped off an artist’s canvas. The team logos and players’ autographs are beautifully laid over the player shots. The colorful block nameplates and bold font add further appeal. The lack of a border eliminates centering concerns—a common issue during the era. The highly engaging flip side refers to Howe as the greatest player of all time and rattles off a few of his accomplishments. Adding this gem of a card to a collection should be a cause for celebration for many years to come.
#4: 1957 Topps Hockey #42 Gordie Howe
Once again, Topps used a recognizable color scheme in 1957–a trademark that would elevate their brand for decades. The Howe features a striking red background, with Howe holding his stick in uniform. A crisp blue nameplate contrasts nicely. The flip side tells fans his coach called Howe the best player in history. A trivia question states that players must log five years in the league to receive a pension. It does not mention that 1957 ranks among the most controversial in NHL history, as the players formed a union after the league owners refused to disclose their financials. The players wanted to increase their pension, but the owners refused, even trading players to bad teams if they did not capitulate. Finally, Howe persuaded the players to reach an agreement with the owners, which increased the minimum salary to $7,000 and included a slight upward adjustment to the pension and moving expenses for traded players. In exchange, the players agreed to dissolve the union and drop an antitrust lawsuit.
By 1957, Howe had won three MVP awards, five scoring titles, and the record for most points in a season. This card celebrates Howe at the pinnacle of his career–the most prolific player of all time and now a peace broker. It makes a terrific addition to any vintage Hockey collection.
#3: 1958 Topps Hockey #8 Gordie Howe
In 1958, Topps reminded fans that even they make mistakes–even when it involves the best player ever. By misspelling Gordie Howe’s name on his ‘58 issue after he had reached G.O.A.T. status, Topps turned his ‘58 card into a popular pick among edgy collectors who might also be on the hunt for the cards of Michael Jorden, Babe Rooth, and Tom Braide.
Fortunately, Topps got the rest of the card right–and then some. It features a classic shot of “Gordy” crouching–pads on, stick raised. A soft blue backdrop contrasts nicely with his bright red Detroit uniform. The back contains an ode to the legendary coach and manager Jack Adams, who refers to Howe as the best to play the game. It also notes that Howe is on his way to catching Montreal Canadiens legend Maurice Richard for the most goals scored record.
This issue has a low pop count and appealing design and remains more affordable than earlier issues. As a result, it is popular among collectors of vintage Gordie Howe and Gordy Howe cards.
#2: 1966 Topps Hockey #109 Gordie Howe
In 1966, Topps decided to revisit their 1955 baseball design–a celebration of an era when televisions began making their way into millions of homes. Howe has no shortage of unique and classic cards. This edition makes the list. Inside the television, Topps features a smiling Howe with a sketch of his teammates, opponents, and fans in the background. In his 21st season, the flip side commends “Mr. Hockey” for holding the records for most goals, assists, and games.
Like their predecessors in 1955 baseball, Topps had not yet prioritized cutting the cards with even borders. As a result, finding this issue centered remains a challenge. The overall appeal and design familiarity make it popular among vintage Howe collectors seeking affordable alternatives to his earlier cards.
#1: 1967 Topps Hockey #43 Gordie Howe
Credit to the design team at Topps for having the courage to try something new every year. In this issue, they used a sketch of black and white stick figures in the background, including a goalie. The cartoon-like backdrop makes the card one of Howe’s more recognizable. The flip side offers a traditional black-and-white design and a list of his career accomplishments. Yet another attractive vintage offering from Topps, this Howe card fits nicely into any vintage hockey collection.