I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I love the 1968-69 O-Pee-Chee set, the first to feature players wearing the uniforms of the six brand new expansion teams. Unfortunately for many of the players who were part of the great expansion, O-Pee-Chee, and Topps too, were unable to get a lot of photos of the players in their new duds, so different techniques had to be used to create a decent-looking card. Topps chose to keep the players in their Original Six team uniforms and leave it at that. O-Pee-Chee, however, being the far-more-industrious company, airbrushed ridiculous-looking uniforms for the players, so in the end, you get something like fifty cards with atrocious-looking art like in the card above.
Reminds me a bit of the time Charlie Finley stuck his head on a cartoon picture of a hockey player.
When you’re thinking hockey promotions in the same way as old Charlie, you’re in big trouble.
You may also notice on this card that there is no blade on Claude’s stick. Allan Stanley proved in his 1968-69 card that he could forge a Hall-of-Fame career using only half a stick. Remember that one?
Claude Larose was also a true competitor, forgoing the typical hockey stick with blade in favour of a ringette stick. Sure, many less educated fans may have chided him for participating in a teenage girl’s sport, but I disagree, choosing to believe he found hockey too easy and needed a bigger challenge, so he decided to play with a ringette stick. Go ahead and try to stick-handle a puck with the butt end of your stick or by cutting off the blade, I dare you! Can’t do it, can ya? Claude, on the other hand, well, he played in 943 NHL games, scoring 226 goals and 257 assists.