The 1971 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set is popular among collectors, consisting of 264 cards. The posed player photo in front of the colorful backdrop and the team name along the top make for an attractive, classic hockey set design. The set also has great cards for Bobby Hull and Bobby Orr, and Ken Dryden’s rookie card. But when you look through all the cards, you will notice two bizarre photos; Roggie Vachon’s card #156 has his face on Ross Lonsberry’s body, and Mike Corrigan’s card #157 has his face on Mike Byers’ body. Because I am the least knowledgeable about hockey of the four major sports, I thought I’d do some research to figure out why O-Pee-Chee published this “hack job”!
First, let’s talk about Roggie Vachon’s card #156. O-Pee-Chee pasted Vachon’s headshot on the body of Ross Lonsberry from card #121.
I looked up Vachon’s biography and career statistics, and it shows that he played one game for the Montreal Canadiens in the 1971-72 season. He lost his starting job to rookie Ken Dryden and demanded a trade, and the Canadiens obliged and shipped him off to the Los Angeles Kings, where he would have the best years of his career. So it sounds like O-Pee-Chee didn’t have an image of Vachon to use in a King’s uniform, and since the O-Pee-Chee sets were far larger than the Topps sets, they had to fill out the 264 cards set no matter what (Neither Vachon nor Corrigan had 1971 Topps hockey cards).
It’s a similar story for Mike Corrigan’s card #157 as O-Pee-Chee pasted his head on Mike Byers’ body (card #34).
Corrigan played 19 games for the Vancouver Canucks to start the 1971-72 season before moving to the Los Angeles Kings, who selected him off waivers on November 22, 1971. Similarly, his best career season would follow in 1972-73, when he scored 67 points. Corrigan also had a standing relationship with the Kings, who drafted him in June 1967 from the Toronto Maple Leafs in the expansion draft, before the Canucks picked him up in June 1970 in that year’s expansion draft. So I think it’s a similar story where O-Pee-Chee didn’t have a photo of Corrigan to use for the set, so they went all headless horseman on us.
The Roggie Vachon and Mike Corrigan 1971 O-Pee-Chee Hockey cards are now two of my favorites.
Based on printing schedules, an increased set size, and team transactions, I think O-Pee-Chee did their best to fill out the set with a bit of copy and pasting.
Please share any other funny vintage hockey cards in the comments or on Twitter, and happy collecting!