One of the best aspects of being a smaller card company is you can tailor your products to an audience which appreciates the nuances of sports, especially hockey. In hockey, outside of the superstars, next to the goalies, the most popular players have traditionally been what are lovingly called “goons”. Goons are players, usually with less talent, that make their reputation as players who are known for protecting their teammates usually with their fists or sometimes just as a presence.
A couple of older examples of enforcers were John Ferguson of the Montreal Canadians and Dave Semenko who I actually once saw get a breakaway in a game against the New Jersey Devils (no he did not convert). Those players were some of the leading enforcers along with players such as Dave “Tiger” Williams and Dave “The Hammer” Schulz. Many fans can more easily identify with these players than the elegant skaters such as Yvon Counyouer. Personally, when I played street hockey back in the day my uniform number was the same as Nick Foitu of the New York Rangers and our comparative abilities were very similar. The only difference was I never tossed pucks into the stands as souvenirs.
Thus there is little doubt that the latest release from ITG will be very popular. The product is titled “Enforcers II” and as with most ITG products, each box has a very easy mix to understand. The boxes have five base cards, three memorabilia cards and four autograph cards. For all that, the box prices from leading on-line retailers will probably remain steady in the $65-75 range and that means each hit has an average cost of less than $10 per card. Anytime a nice mix of autograph and relic cards can be purchased at that cost range, most collectors will walk away happy. Even the furor over the ‘blood spatters’ in the card design has all but gone away.
Here’s what was inside our box:
Base Cards: We got our five. Since there are different subsets, no reason to describe what a basic card looked like.
Instigator Relic: Ken Belanger
Combatants Relics: Darren McCarty/Claude Lemieux. Perhaps these jersey relics were from that infamous series when Dino Ciccarelli shook Claude’s hand at the end of the series and exclaimed “I can’t believe I shook this guy’s friggin’ hand”.
Autographed Cards: Kim Clackson, Kevin McClelland, Mike Peluso, Brendan Witt
Some nice memories in these cards. One of our base cards was from the “tag team” sub sets and featured HOFers Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay. So a nice mix of old and new and certainly a release which makes fans of hockey fights very happy indeed.