Ten Popular NHL Memorabilia Items
As with all the other major sports, the National Hockey League has a rich history of great players, memorable games, and crowning achievements within its 100-year span of operation. During that time, dynasties have come and gone, superheroes have electrified fans with their artistry, and the sport as a whole has fully earned its designation as ‘the fastest game on ice.’
Culled from the century or so of its existence, the items of NHL memorabilia listed below reflect that rich history, as well as the history of some of the game’s great teams and players through the ages. Whenever possible, a price is included along with each item, in case you might be moved to invest in a piece of NHL history, so it can adorn your own bookcase at home, or become a centerpiece of your personal Man Cave.
Wayne Gretzky Autographed Hockey Stick
During his 20-year career in the National Hockey League (1979-1999), Wayne Gretzky played for four teams, but is probably best remembered for being the driving force behind the dynasty of the Edmonton Oilers. Along with teammates Jari Kurri, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, and Paul Coffey, Gretzky terrorized NHL goalies with offensive skills the likes of which were never seen before him and may never be seen again. Gretzky is acknowledged as the greatest player the game has ever known and is the only player to ever score more than 200 points in a single season, a feat he accomplished four times. When he retired from the game, he owned 61 records, and that’s why a signed hockey stick bearing his name is worth about $2,000.
Bobby Orr Signed Trading Card
The 1966 TOPPS rookie trading card of Bobby Orr is worth about $14,000 in mint condition, and that price is a reflection of Orr’s dynamic skills as a defenseman for the Boston Bruins. Orr was the first defenseman in the NHL to use his natural speed, offensive skills, and spectacular skating ability to revolutionize the position. He played for 12 seasons in all, the first 10 of which were with Boston, and eventually he retired due to knee problems which resulted in several operations during his career. But before he left the game, he transformed the position of defenseman into one which could join the offensive attack, and added a whole new level of excitement to the game.
French Connection Signed Photo and Trading Card
The French Connection was one of the most exciting lines ever in the National Hockey League, and it dominated the league from the time its three players first hit the ice together. Comprised of Gilbert Perreault, Richard Martin, and Rene Robert, the French Connection acquired their nickname because all three players originated from Quebec, Canada, and because there was a popular movie of the same name at the time of their formation. Perreault was the very first draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 1970, Richard Martin was their 1st round pick in 1971, and Rene Robert was acquired in 1972 via trade. Known for amazing skating, passing, and shooting abilities, the French Connection has been immortalized in Buffalo, NY, and in all major hockey towns in the U.S. and Canada. A single trading card depicting all three can be purchased for under $500.
Gordie Howe Autographed Jersey and Cards
In an amazing hockey career that spanned from 1946 to 1980, Gordie Howe played his first 25 professional seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, helping them win the Stanley Cup four times. He was named an All-Star 23 times during his career and held practically all scoring records in the game until they were broken by the great Wayne Gretzky. The fact that he was able to endure so many years of high-level professional hockey is a testament to his love of the game, as well as his amazing commitment to fitness. He is still the only player in NHL history to play in five different decades. A signed Red Wings jersey of his can be purchased for $1,800 and a 1951 trading card bearing his signature can be had for about $13,000.
1890s Hockey Sticks
There are some vintage 1890s hockey sticks available which were made from a single piece of wood by Iver Johnson Sporting Goods Company. Manufacturing information is stenciled into the wood, and some of these sticks are in amazing condition, having been preserved for more than a century. Few of them survive to this day, because the normal life expectancy of a wooden single-piece stick like this would not have been very long, especially under rough playing conditions.
Signed Patch and Photo – ‘Rocket Richard’, Jean Beliveau, and Guy LaFleur
Rocket Richard, Jean Beliveau, and Guy LaFleur were three of the greatest players in the history of the Montreal Canadiens, and this signed patch and photo of the three players can be obtained for under $2,500. Rocket Richard played 18 full seasons in the NHL, and he was the first player ever to score 50 goals in a single season. Jean Beliveau played most of his 21 NHL seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, and he was the second player in history to achieve 500 goals for a career. Guy LaFleur played 17 seasons in the NHL and helped the Canadiens win 5 Stanley Cup trophies. He is widely regarded as one of the ten greatest players to ever play in the NHL.
Bobby Hull Football Helmet
This one might seem a bit odd, since hockey players don’t wear football helmets, and in Hull’s day, they didn’t wear helmets at all. However, you can still buy a full-size football helmet signed by ‘The Golden Jet’ himself, with a Chicago Blackhawks logo, for about $600. Bobby Hull got his nickname partly due to his blonde hair and his unbelievable skating speed, and he led the league in scoring 7 times, more than any other player.
The Stanley Cup
No sports memorabilia collection would be complete without including a replica Stanley Cup, and you can purchase a really good one made of silver for under $300. Like the story of the league itself, the Stanley Cup has grown over the years, as the names of each championship team are etched into its sides annually.
Autographed Mario Lemieux Hockey Puck
While the price for an autographed Mario Lemieux hockey puck won’t break the bank at $250, it will still be a worthy addition to any hockey memorabilia collector’s trophy case. Lemieux is considered one of the game’s greatest players, spending 17 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins and winning the Stanley Cup in two of those. Health issues curtailed a career that would have been even more spectacular, but during his playing days, Lemieux was one of the greatest scorers the game has ever seen.
Signed Photo of Phil Esposito vs. Tony Esposito
For just $150, you can own a signed photo of the two brothers who dominated play at their respective positions for years in the NHL, Tony as a goalie for the Chicago Black Hawks and Phil as a forward for the Black Hawks, Boston Bruins, and New York Rangers. The photo captures a moment when Phil (as a member of the Bruins) is rushing into the goal crease to take a scoring chance on his younger brother, defending for the Black Hawks. Both players were named to the 100 Greatest NHL Players of All Time.
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