I really don't know why for many years I didn't bother with Topps hockey. It's pretty much the same as OPC hockey was back in the 70's and 80's, with the exception that the sets were smaller.
What's even stranger is that I'm not actively trying to put any sets together from either the 70's or 80's (save for 76-77 OPC), so if my predisposition to larger sets is no longer in the way, what's the problem.
Well, I guess there isn't one any more. At the National (yea, I know it's been over a month), I found a table with dime boxes full of late 70's and early 80's Topps hockey.
I went to work digging out the Leafs...
Some great names from that era here...Salming will always be one of my favorite Leafs, along with Sittler. Vaive and Derlago from the Canucks really was a steal for the Leafs; Tiger Williams was the "fighting" heart of the team, and Jerry Butler was a solid penalty killer and 4th line player. But the Leafs get Derlago, 4 seasons of 30+ goals, and Vaive who becomes the first Leaf ever to score 50 in a season. I love that I now have a card of someone not named Gretzky wearing the number 99 in the NHL as well. Paiement wore it in Toronto for 4 seasons between 1979-82 before being traded to the Nordiques.
Fast forward to the mid 80's, the Leafs are in the middle of a decade long run of below .500 seasons despite having some decent talent on the club. Rick Vaive and Steve Thomas both got a Leafs photo on their 87-88 Topps card even though they were traded to Chicago in September of '87. Same goes for Derlago, as he only played one game in Toronto in the 85-86 season before moving to Boston for Tom Fergus.
The 85-86 design is one of my favorites from that decade, I like the logo placement in the upper corner, with the players name and position in the bar on the bottom that features the teams dominant color. 87-88's design wasn't as thrilling to a lot of people; it kind of reminds me of a couple of 60's baseball sets with the team name in a circle.
The 77-78 and 78-79 designs were from my early collecting years, and are still are a pair of my favorites. Getting players such as Sittler and Salming for 10 cents apiece still makes me smile because if I had waited until November at the Expo to pick these up, I probably would have had to pay more to get them.
Unfortunately the table that had these cards was at the end of my National trip, and the funds were starting to run low. There was quite a few cards that I could have picked up and started a few Topps sets from these years, but I would have been able to start only one of them, and choosing which one would have been difficult since I like them all.
I guess I just had to find a bunch of cards at 10 cents apiece of my beloved Blue and White heroes to change my mind about Topps hockey.
I guess I'm just weird that way...
thanks for reading, Robert