As I’ve been researching hockey sets for the Unopened Archive, I’ve noticed two things. First, vintage hockey wrappers and wax boxes had the best designs of the four major sports. Second, a lot of the giveaways and drawings used in the vintage post-war era wouldn’t be selected for use on packs today. Here are a few examples.
Extra Hockey Stamps
It pains me that stamps aren’t as popular with kids today, so I don’t think if Upper Deck included extra hockey stamps in every pack with cards, it would increase sales at all like they probably did back in 1961. Many other giveaways, like a whale’s tooth charm or a locking diary, probably wouldn’t be too popular today, either.
The president of the NHL announced the helmet rule for safety in August 1979. The rule said that players who had signed pro contracts before June 1, 1979, didn’t have to wear a helmet, given they signed a liability waiver, but one was mandatory for incoming players. Referees didn’t have to wear them until 1988. So it’s no surprise that the drawing of a player on the 1967 Topps hockey wrapper isn’t playing with a helmet.
Going for the Knees
Hockey has always had a bit of a violent nature to it, but I don’t think anyone today would encourage taking out a player at the knees like this 1975 Topps hockey wrapper seems to depict!
O-Pee-Chee had giveaways for dart guys a few times. One example was back in 1969 when a “Real-looking gun – complete with 2 safe rubber-end darts.” was available to collectors for only 175 Bazooka Comics or 35 cents and five comics. Luckily it was well made.
In 1982 a plastic gun with suction cup darts required five hockey wrappers and $1.
I don’t think any sports card company would give away pocket knives today. But this 1977 OPC WHA Hockey wrapper advertised one that was great for whittling and carving, and it even had a carbon steel blade for great strength and motherly peace of mind. It was available for 75 cents and 5 WHA hockey wrappers.
The world changes, and what was normal 40 years ago isn’t so typical today, as we can see by these hockey wax pack wrappers. We’ll ignore all the targeted marketing of sugary gum to kids too. Happy collecting!