The season hasn’t started yet and it’s already been a good one for Canadian hockey card collectors. There’s the new Tim Hortons/Upper Deck hockey card set. Now, Canada Post is celebrating six goaltending greats who transformed hockey on a new series of stamps.
The 2015 NHL Great Canadian Goalies set highlights some of the finest to play in the NHL between 1952 and 2015: Lorne “Gump” Worsley (Montreal Canadiens), Johnny Bower (Toronto Maple Leafs), Tony Esposito (Chicago Blackhawks), Bernie Parent (Philadelphia Flyers), Ken Dryden (Montreal Canadiens) and Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils).
All won the most coveted of prizes – the Stanley Cup Championship and the Vezina Trophy, recognizing the NHL’s best goalkeeper. All changed the way the game was played or perceived, according to Canada Post.
“These six goalies will forever remain relevant and real in a country that embraces its stars,” says Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra. “They wore their hearts on their sleeves while they played, and captured ours in the process. Their on-ice brilliance left an indelible impression on a nation. They are an important part of our country’s rich history, and we are proud to immortalize these players on our stamps.”
Four of the five living hockey legends attended the unveiling ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto last week. Martin Brodeur, St. Louis Blues Assistant General Manager, was represented by his nephew, Philippe Gendron. Doreen Worsley, Gump Worsley’s widow, represented her husband at the event attended by hundreds of other dignitaries and fans.
Avi Dunkelman and Joe Gault of Mix Design in Toronto designed the six-stamp Canadian issue, which features head-and-shoulder images of the players in uniform. The players are portrayed the way fans remember them. Four of the six are in masks. Two – Worsley and Bower – are without.
Oversize rate souvenir sheets resembling hockey cards and featuring full images of the players in game action are also offered. The back of the souvenir sheets turn it into a sort of hockey card experience, offering career statistics that tell part of the players’ professional story. They are available in packs of six. Each pack includes a chance to win: one in 40 packs has a signed and authenticated souvenir sheet.
The Goalies set is the third of a five-year collection of NHL stamps leading up to the NHL’s 100th anniversary in 2017. The issue builds on the NHL Team jerseys stamps released in 2013 and the Original Six defensemen issue released last year.
Canada Post has produced more than 50 NHL-themed stamps since 1992.
The booklet front features a photograph of Martin Brodeur, taken by his father, Denis Brodeur, while the inside cover features a Hockey Hall of Fame archival photograph of Gump Worsley and Johnny Bower shaking hands after a playoff game in 1962.
Official First Day Covers – one for each player – are cancelled in the birthplaces of the players: Montréal, QC (Worsley, Parent and Brodeur); Prince Albert, SK (Bower); Sault Ste. Marie, ON (Esposito); and Hamilton, ON (Dryden).
Limited edition numbered framed prints are available for each player. Bower, Brodeur, Esposito and Parent have signed prints.
Stamps, sheets, packs, booklets and first day covers are available on eBay.